Graduates in rehabilitation science not allowed to pursue Bachelor of Education course

Twenty-one-year-old S.Raja Gayathri of Aruppukottai in Virudhunagar district had been suffering from poor vision since birth. Yet, the third child of stone quarry workers A.Subbiah and S.Pandithai has struggled her way up to complete her schooling, followed by a Bachelor’s degree in Tamil a year ago and a Bachelor’s degree in education very recently.

Ms.Gayathri’s two elder siblings S.Mohana Priya and S.Vignesh Anand also suffer from similar congenital vision problems which even the best of the ophthalmic hospitals here could not cure. While her sister was given in marriage immediately after completing Class XII, her brother is pursuing doctoral studies at Delhi after his Post Graduation in Tamil from American College here.

“I was lucky to have had good teachers in educational institutions such as CSI Higher Secondary School in Aruppukottai, EMG Yadava Women’s College and CSI College of Education. I studied in these institutions along with regular students. But not many like me get such opportunities. Hence, it is necessary to enlist the services of professionals who could understand better the needs of the physically and mentally-challenged,” she says.

J.P.Gabriel, Director of CSI College of Education, concurs with her, but points out that the ground situation was otherwise as professionals trained in rehabilitation science were only discouraged from serving the children with special needs.

“People are forced to live with many absurdities. One of them is denying the opportunity to academically-certified experts in rehabilitation of the mentally and physically-challenged to undergo Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) courses and become teachers in special schools,” he says.

Institute of Rehabilitation Science and Special Education at Holy Cross College, Tiruchi, offers Bachelor of Rehabilitation Science (B.R.Sc.), a three-year training programme aimed at creating professionals who could understand the requirements of people with special needs and help them get into the mainstream.

The B.R.Sc., course is recognised by Rehabilitation Council of India, a statutory body under the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. However, ironically, the course had not been included in a list of undergraduate degrees that were recognised by Tamil Nadu Teachers Education University (TNTEU) for admission into the one-year B.Ed. (Special Education) course.

“As per norms stipulated by the TNTEU, those seeking admission into B.Ed. course must have undergone their graduation in subjects such as Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and so on. The idea behind the norm is that B.Ed. candidates must have a strong background in anyone of the subjects taught at school level. But no one is giving attention to the fact that it works against the interest of students with special needs.

“A B.R.Sc., graduate would be the most suitable person to teach at special schools because he or she will be more sensitive to the children with special needs than any other graduate. When such graduates are denied B.Ed. admissions, it leads to a situation of denying good mentors for mentally and physically-challenged children. It is high time the authorities concerned looked into the issue,” he adds.

When contacted, G.Visvanathan, Vice-Chancellor, TNTEU, said the issue was not brought to his notice. “I am always open to help people in need. Once I receive a formal request from B.R.Sc. graduates, I shall write to the government and obtain necessary clearance,” he said.

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