01 April 2010

The Right to Education Act and disabled children

The Right to Education Act coming into force is a laudable. It is truly historic in nature since it makes education a constitutional right, thus making it available for children across India. It would be even more worthy of appreciation if the HRD ministry will also throw some light on how it proposes to ensure that all the children who are blind, deaf, physically and mentally challenged among others will be brought to benefit from this historic bill.

Children with disabilities need special education that is particularly suited to their needs. While there are organizations doing good work in some cities and parts of India, it is still a distant dream for every disabled child to be able to find a suitable education centre and proper trained teachers who can teach them. There is a need for special education schools in every city and town that teach blind students in Braille, deaf students in Sign Language and the like. 

It would truly be a historic day when every disabled citizen of India will be able to say that their needs have been suitably met by their nation. I hope that the disabled children will not be forgotten by the country’s leaders when they plan the blueprint of how to bring the RTE Act into implementation.

I am sure that it will take much more than good intentions to bring this about. It would mean that the Government will have to ensure that the necessary funds are set aside and used to set up such special education centers in every state, city and town. It is also important to build up the necessary resources for special education and put proper Government certified teacher’s training programmes for those who teach the deaf, the blind and so on.

The 2001 Census states that the disabled population of India amounts to 1,261,722. We can be sure that the figure is much greater than that now. It would be commendable if the Government of India truly followed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in letter and spirit and made provision to ensure the future of the disabled in India is also made secure.