Differently Abled students feel more comfortable in special schools.
Seats reserved for differently abled people in educational institutions remain vacant most of the time.
Veena C, Superintendent, Seshadripuram Pre University college, said, “We have reservations for differently abled people but till date we have not received any applications. We do not have enough space in our school building for a specially abled student to move around in a wheelchair. We do not have ramps either.”
Department of the Empowerment of Differently Abled and Senior Citizens in 2001 had ordered for three percent reservations in all educational institutions.
Dr. Senthil N S Kumar, CEO of The Association of People with Disability (APD) said, “The National Education Policy states that schools will have a ‘no denial policy’ when it comes to the admission of specially abled children. But the schools having reservations do not have proper infrastructure which leads to zero admissions of differently abled students.”
The APD had requested the government to build inclusive infrastructure. Karnataka Public School (KPS) was set up by the government with modern facilities, yet did not include differently abled friendly infrastructure.
Anusha O C, an employee at APD, said, “Differently abled students are afraid to mingle with other students and the teachers are unable to help them because they are not trained. However, this is not the case in special schools and so speciallyabled students opt for them.”
Malati Das, a mother of a specially-abled child said, “A general school needs to have facilities to accommodate the visually impaired, locomotor disabled, hearing impaired and mentally handicapped students. These children need specially trained teachers and special resource rooms for classes.”
Kumar further added, “Special schools have classes up to grade seven. After that we try to admit our children in state government schools or other schools. But due to inadequate infrastructure, we cannot send them to most schools.” Many students drop out after class seven when they do not get a disabled friendly school to join.
Dr Bharath Raju G, orthopaedist and Secretary General of Karnataka Orthopaedic Association (KOA) said, “Infrastructure should be such that people with wheelchairs can go everywhere. A few malls and offices have disabled friendly infrastructure but schools are lagging behind. Schools should have wheelchair ramps.”
APD organised a two-day event which started on Dec. 2. It will end on Dec. 3 which is the International Day of Disabled Persons.