ABU(Senior group) Excellent Work

“What should your country do to cover all visually impaired children in school education programmes and also provide them quality education?”
India Babooja Ranjan Choudhury (36/male)

Founded on two fundamental ideologies in the arena of education—the “Segregation” and the “Integration”—the systems and the set-ups as are operating to provide the pupils with visual impairment in India are known as the “Segregated School or the Special School” system and the “RegularSchool” set-up.The Government of India and the State Governments as well as the Non-Governmental organizations at national, provincial and local levels have shaken hands and are, in co-ordination, running the programmes for providing Formal Education to all visually impaired children in India.To turn this effort into real success, what will primarily be required are, the identification of all visually impaired children (VIC) of India, eligible for education and their proper accommodation in the relevant educational environment.
Coverage scenario:
Quite disheartening to write that there are no concrete and comprehensive survey reports available to establish and ascertain accurate number of school-going VIC and assess the standard and quality of education imparted to them in the schools of India.For instance, the NSSO’s report (2002) puts the number of visually handicapped children 5-19 years old at 633000 and the Institute of Applied Manpower Research under the Planning Commission of India says that the number of visually handicapped children (VHC) from 5-14 years of age is about 8.50 lakh and that of low vision children is about 432400.
The NUEPA reported (some time back) that 249200 blind students were enrolled in regular schools.AICB’s sample survey suggests that there may be some 33000 learners receiving education in about 400 special schools for the blind.
Although the supra-cited figures are old, based on secondary sources and not at all verifiable, but they certainly suffice to indicate that below one-fourth of total VIC in India have been accommodated in the school education programmes.
Features of education of visually challenged Children:
Children with visual challenges receive Formal Education in the special schools for the blind.They can also access the opportunities of education available through Integrated and Inclusive education programme and DPEP and Education For All Schemes operating in regular schools.
Purview of their education encompasses progrmames and activities prescribed in the curriculum of the education board and the additional curriculum which includes activities required to impart compensatory stimuli to cope up in the normal educational and social environment.
Pre-requisites of quality education:-
  1. Qualified Personnel:
  2. Properly qualified teachers and non-teaching personnel, e.g. demonstrators, librarians, etc. must have piquant attitude and perspicuous vision towards their own job assignment.They must be inculcated appropriate understanding of the need and importance of teaching visually challenged learners.Braille, mathematics, geometry and sciences and the usages of specified tools and devices in schools.
  3. Qualified Materials:
  4. While adopting desirable approach, method and technique, the teachers must desire, all time availability of reading materials such as textbooks; reference and recreational literatures; as much as possible, in Braille or in audio format in the school libraries.Regular school administration must encourage the usage of specially designed black board, white board, CCTV, slider, etc. in the class rooms; and supply the low vision learners with glasses, lenses, enlargers, etc.Besides, the schools must provide all visually impaired learners (VIL) with Braille frames, inter-point frames, Taylor frames, abacus, geometry kits, mobility canes, etc. free or at heavily subsidized rates.
  5. Quality Service System:
  6. Identification of all VIC and their enrolment in proper education programmes/schemes/schools require adoption and operationalization of quality service system.
Regular school administration must adopt the system of appropriate assessment of vision, functional abilities and vision stimulation of all VIC before their enrolment.Based on that system, schools must put in place the services like “provision of appropriate assistive devices”, “planning the mode of access of information and communication” and “preparation of child-specific individual education plan”.They must also provide the learners with the preparatory services in pre-Braille, Braille reading and writing and using special devices, orientation and mobility and other coping aspects.
Task assignment:
Considering India’s economic capability, constitutional liability, commitment to the international communities and the UNO’s Convention certain tasks can be assigned to the Government, the NGO’s and the citizens as a whole for fulfillment by which miles of moors can be surpassed towards target of total accommodation of and quality education for all VIC in the school education programmes.
  1. Preparing a data base of the visually challenged population and identifying all VIC eligible for enrolment in proper school education programme.
  2. Involvement of local schools, intellectually acclaimed and socially appreciated personalities and the community as a whole in the exercise of identification and educational accommodation of all VIC.
  3. Unceasing organization of awareness programmes at grass roots levels on the need and significance of education of VIC.
  4. Inclusion in all mainstream teachers training (B.Ed., Diploma in Elementary Education etc.) curriculum, the orientational courses on visually impaired learners in regular school environment.
  5. Organizing sensitization orientation and refresher programmes at District or Block level for all on-roll teachers of special schools for the blind and the general teachers of regular schools accommodating VIC.
  6. Adopt a policy and time bound programme for allocation and utilization of more funds towards total implementation of the existing laws and the constitutional provisions; increasing the number of existing, establishing new and enhancing the capability of all the agencies, institutes, centres and industries, etc. engaged in service delivery; material production; technology invention; research and development and training of teachers, planners and administrators of school education programmes enrolling VIC.
Conclusion:
Education is the constitutional right conferred upon all the Indian children irrespective of their social and physical backgrounds.Hence, it is the duty and the responsibility of all Governmental and non-governmental organizations, the media and the community as a whole to operate in the best possible manner with an intention of availing them of appreciable educational opportunities and environment for receiving quality education, the true education.


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