Get-hooked December 23, 2020
New study highlights impact of pandemic on education of children with disabilities
A new study conducted by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy along with some NGO’s highlights how education of disabled children were affected during the Covid pandemic. Vidhi has already conducted a study across North India and has now extended it to the South too. This is our #StoryOfTheWeek.
Over past few months, many studies were conducted on how Covid pandemic has affected people with disabilities. The pandemic has worsened systems of education for all children. Needless to say, children with disabilities are struggling to get through these crisis times. Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy in collaboration with Ektha Foundation and other regional NGO’s recently conducted a study of which findings were discussed virtually on 22 December by group of experts. For disabled children to whom poverty plays a key role in exacerbating their inaccessibility to education, Covid pandemic has been a tough time, finds the study.
A study on topical times
The study was conducted in partnership with various Civil Society Organizations (CSO). The sample was 164 students, their caregivers, fifty teachers, ten CSOs and five government officials across Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The study looked into short term challenges posed by the pandemic and include suggestions to address socio-economic vulnerabilities of children with disabilities to ensure their inclusion in the long-term.
Key findings that emerged from the interviews conducted demonstrated how households that faced losses in income, increased debts, inadequate nutrition, and inability to access medical care automatically de-prioritised education during the pandemic in favour of survival. Moreover, lack of infrastructure and modes of instruction used during COVID-19 for both teachers and students, and increased relief work for teachers along with job insecurity further marginalised children with disabilities already on the socio-economic periphery.
Actionable recommendations suggested in consultation with stakeholders include specific measures for inclusion of children with disabilities in the education system during the pandemic and a more holistic approach to minimize disruptions in access to support schemes coupled with early intervention – both of the latter being a necessary prerequisite for facilitating inclusive education at large.
Nish Vernekar, Team lead, Education, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy says, “Out of our numerous programs, one is on inclusion of children with disabilities into mainstream education. So when Ektha Foundation approached us with the idea, we decided to go ahead. We collaborated with NGO’s in every state. We wanted to do something qualitative”.
Sooraj SK, co-founder of Kerala-based NGO Prajaahita Foundation that was part of the study says, “The team had already done a similar study in North India and they wanted to extend it to South India as well. The study that they had taken up was on a relevant topic. From Kerala, we presented our best models. Also, Kerala had many projects for disabled children”.
Watch in Sign Language
- Two-day virtual conference ‘Unnathi 2020’ raised critical issues faced by children with disabilities
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