Tests to be conducted in all Government and aided schools

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is undertaking a State-wide campaign to detect learning disabilities in children. The learning disability screening test will be conducted in all Government and aided schools for students of Standards II and VI. This campaign is being launched in the current academic year.

A total of 2,184 Government and aided schools in Coimbatore district will be covered under the campaign. Special Teachers will conduct it through grade level assessment devices, an assessment tool of the National Institute for the Mentally Handicapped, Coimbatore Additional Chief Education Officer (SSA) R. Thiruvalarselvi told The Hindu here on Monday.

The institute is an autonomous body functioning under the administrative control of the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

She said that a test would be simultaneously conducted across the State on the same day in which students would be asked to complete a questionnaire. A meeting of Government school Headmasters was convened here on Friday to work out the modalities for this test. The date of the test is yet to be announced.

The campaign was intended to find out if slow learners were suffering from any disabilities such as dyslexia or from any other mental illness. The collected data would be uploaded into a SSA database, which would contain all the aspects of the students to enable follow-up action, she said.

Sensitisation programmes have already been conducted for Government and aided school teachers, Headmasters and Block Resource Teacher Educators on how to detect symptoms of learning disability among students.

Ms. Thiruvalarselvi said that the Government schools have also been distributed a checklist to ascertain visual and other learning disabilities. Once the students have been diagnosed through this process, she said that a follow-up action would be formulated.

The reasons for choosing Standard II was that the students would be too young before that class and as for class VI, she said that it was the threshold for entering higher studies.