Lack of infrastructure force children with disabilities, especially girls, to drop out from schools

Lesser number of girls with disabilities are enrolled in schools than boys and their enrolment has remained consistently around 40 per cent, a latest study has shown. The enrolment of girl students with disabilities was 43.57 per cent in 2009-10, 43.07 per cent in 2010-11, 41.51 per cent in 2011-12, and 40.21 per cent in 2012-13.

Comparison of boys’ and girls’ enrolment in 2012-13 indicate a gender gap in enrolment in 11 States out of the 13 States which gave relevant data for the research on “Evaluation of the Implementation of the IEDSS Scheme in India” conducted by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT).

Manipur is the only State where the percentage of differently-abled girls was more than boys while in Daman and Diu it was equal. Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Nagaland, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu had lesser number of girls with disabilities in schools and the percentage of girls has decreased over years in Gujarat, Karnataka, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu. An increase in enrolment over the years was seen in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Manipur, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan.

The drop-out rates of such students was high across the States with the major reasons being shortage of special teachers, disturbances in Maoist-affected and tribal areas, and poverty and social stigmas attached to disability.

The study was focussed on the Centrally-sponsored Inclusive Education of the Disabled at the Secondary Stage (IEDSS) and found that only 12 States have appointed special teachers as provided for under the scheme. On their part, the States said non-availability of trained manpower was the major problem for appointing special teachers. Only three States have provided training to regular teachers while only seven States have given relaxation in evaluation procedures in terms of time, type of questions, grace marks/reducing passing percentage and weightage to co-curricular activities. Kerala and Haryana are the only two States having setup model schools under the scheme.

The study further said almost all students with disabilities liked coming to school and half of them said that they did not face any difficulty at school. A majority of the students with disabilities (83 per cent) interviewed could not specify the facilities being provided to them. Interestingly, 6.5 per cent students with disabilities liked all aspects of the school, 18.2 per cent liked studies, 15.3 per cent liked the teachers, 12.7 per cent liked classmates and friends, 11.3 per cent liked reading, 8.4 per cent liked games and sports and the rest liked other aspects of the school. Majority of the teachers (88.1 per cent) gave no response to the question regarding the strategies used for meeting the special educational needs of these students in the classroom. More than half of the teachers interviewed gave no response to the question regarding how they included these children in their regular day-to-day teaching.