Schools will soon have to appoint special educators for differently abled students

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In the amendment to the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009 in the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s judgment in the case of Rajneesh Pandey vs Union of India, the SC has directed the centre to notify the norms and standards of Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) for special and general schools. The amendment focuses on appointing a special education teacher to teach Children with Special Needs (CwSN) in schools. As per the amendment, schools will have to appoint one special education teacher for every 10 children with disabilities studying in classes I to V and 15 children with disabilities studying in VI to VIII which will help in their inclusion in the mainstream educational ecosystem.
The schools are yet to receive a formal directive from the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) to appoint special educators. Once the directive is sent out to all the schools across the country, the management will have to appoint new or train the existing teaching staff to support the CwSN. The Delhi government schools have been appointing special educators for the last four to five years. Also, as per the directive of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), special educators have been appointed in most Kendriya Vidyalaya (KVs) across the country.
Speaking to Education Times, Pavnesh Tiwari, special education teacher at MCD Pratibha Vidyalaya, Delhi, says, “The amendment will support slow learning students, physically challenged students and children with special needs. This will help in bringing CwSN into the mainstream education system. Students with intellectual and learning disabilities are the most vulnerable group, who need the support of special educators. Many instances have come to the light where normal conventional educators find it hard to teach students with intellectual and learning disabilities in a mixed batch of 40 students that includes normal students too. Even hearing-impaired students and Autistic students need to be taught by special educators.”
Schools need a resource room for differently abled students to learn effectively. “These resource rooms are in the form of a remedial classroom where students with educational disabilities and learning disabilities are given direct, specialised instructions, academic remediation, and assistance with homework and related assignments in groups,” adds Tiwari.
“The most difficult task is to teach students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Cerebral Palsy, Down’s syndrome, and intellectual disability, who need special attention. In the coming time, schools will have to evolve ways to create a conducive environment so that students with intellectual and learning disabilities can be effectively taught by special educators. The PTR of one special education teacher for 10 students (I to V) and 15 students (VI to VIII) is not the desired ratio. However, special education teachers will gradually adapt to this. The ideal PTR is one special education teacher for eight disabled students because every student has a different disability,” explains Tiwari.
“Till now, very few vacancies for special educators have been released. A few vacancies were advertised by the MCD, government and private schools in Rajasthan and Haryana. “However, now with the amendment to the RTE Act of 2009, one vacancy for special educators would be created in every school across the country as it had been mandated,” informs Tiwari.
Indramani Upadhyay, PGT Hindi, Kendriya Vidyalaya CRPF, Lucknow, says, “The KVs across the country were given the target to appoint special educators by November 30, 2022, by the joint commissioner (academics) of the Kendra Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS). This has been completed by most KVs. Before this directive, special education teachers from outside were called to teach differently-abled students.”

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