Delhi schools directed to appoint adequate special educators for disabled kids
T D Dhariyal, State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Delhi government has taken steps to correct the lopsided teacher-student ratio for disabled kids in schools in the national capital. All Delhi schools have been directed to immediately hire at least two special educators who specialise in physical and intellectual disabilities.
Over 4,000 schools in Delhi lack even a single special educator to teach disabled children. This is despite a 2009 Delhi High Court mandating that every school in Delhi should appoint two special educators for disabled kids.
No special educators for disabled kids at primary level
This was among the key findings in RTI filed by Reshma Parveen, a special educator with a 58% locomotor disability. Reshma filed a petition before the State Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Government of Delhi. Her petition highlighted that despite the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 mandating inclusive education, the Directorate of Education (DoE), Delhi Government, had not created the post of a special educator at the primary level.
The petition asked the commission to take steps “to start the process of permanent recruitment of at least two Special Educators (Primary) in all 5700 schools and immediately arrange contract/guest special educators (primary) to fill the stop gap arrangement”.
In response, Mr Dhariyal has directed the state government, three municipal corporations and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to immediately hire at least two special educators in every school. All schools in Delhi must have special education teachers for children with autism, intellectual disability, learning disability, deaf-blind, vision and hearing disabilities and cerebral palsy.
In light of the progressive and forward looking RPWD Act, there can be no justification for any education provider in government or in private sector for not being able to provide the required human and other resources for quality education of children with disabilities on equal basis with other children and with equity. – T D Dhariyal, State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Government of Delhi
Mr Dhariyal has added that schools should cater to the needs of disabled children as per their requirements. “As per the generally accepted criteria, the pupil-teacher ratio for children with Cerebral Palsy, visual impairment and hearing impairment should be 1:8. For children with intellectual disability, ASD and Specific learning disabilities it should be 1:5 and for deaf-blind and a combination of two or more disabilities mentioned it should be 1:2”.
Posts of special educators to be filled immediately
All the vacant posts of special education teachers have to be filled before the next academic year begins in April 2020. Schools have to submit a report on the number of disabled children enrolled, types of disabilities, number of special educators appointed, and number of teachers needed within three months.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Binay Bhushan, Director, DoE, said his department would draw up an action plan to implement the recommendations given by the commissioner. “We have also sent a requirement of around 970 special educators,” he said.
Commissioner Dhariyal has directed National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to include a compulsory module on teaching of disabled children on its online digital platform Swayam.