Education June 20, 2020
Samagra Shiksha Kerala reaches out to over 80,000 disabled children in Kerala
‘Samagra Shiksha Kerala’ has started ‘White Board’ online classes for disabled children in Kerala. The classes that began on 15 June are expected to reach out to over 80,000 disabled children in the state. Teachers will create videos with lessons that are then shared with parents.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, schools and colleges still remain shut. Children are now undergoing online classes from inside their homes. Reportedly, this is most likely to continue for days to come. But in the case of disabled children, taking up online classes can be challenging due to many reasons. In a remarkable move, ‘Samagra Shiksha Kerala’ has now begun online classes for disabled children across Kerala. Titled ‘White Board’, classes have begun on 15 June. Parents, teachers and disability rights activists says that this is indeed a welcome move.
According to reports, there are over 80,000 disabled children across Kerala till class 7. Most of them with physical and intellectual disabilities find it hard to attend online classes. The past four months have not been tougher for these kids as they have not undergone any training or classes due to which they are lagging behind academically. June is when the new academic year begins. Due to lack of facilities, many are unable to attend classes.
According to the ‘White Board’ system, teachers will record videos of the lessons. These are then shared with parents through platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram. Six categories have been created for this based on children’s disabilities.
Sharada Devi is a Ph.D scholar from Trivandrum. A wheelchair user, Sharada has often spoken about the many challenges that disabled students face.
“I find this latest initiative as a really positive one. It is a fact that we have to depend on online learning for at least some time due to threat of Coronavirus. What we have to ensure now is that no student loses the opportunity to pursue education with this new mode. We all know about Devika who died by suicide last month because she did not have facilities to study online. The families of many disabled children do not have enough facilities which is a cause for concern. Even if they have phones and laptops, are they accessible. But good that the initiative has been taken. Better late than never”, says Sharada Devi.
Undoubtedly, this is a great step from the officials. Hopefully, this will be followed without any hassles.
Education for all
Every child has the right to education. Officials must ensure that no child, whether they have a disability or not, is left behind. Schools for disabled children across Kerala, even private ones, are gearing to start online classes. Like in the case of Navajeevan Special School from Kochi.
Principal Shiny Vinson says, “Last week, we had an online call where all the school staffs and management discussed about how we can move ahead with online classes. We shall inform this to parents too. Our classes will begin soon”.
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