Programmes conducted on 41 of the 250 skills identified

The first batch of students in the city who took up ‘Skill Development Course’, initiated by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and monitored by the National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities, were honoured on Friday.

The batch comprised 15 students from Bethshan Special School, who took up a course on ‘Chemical Products’, in which they were taught how to make soap oil and phenyl.

“The main aim of this course is to ensure that persons who are mentally challenged are equipped to take up entrepreneurship and self-employment,” said D. Gunasekar, an official from the National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities, Chennai.

As many as 250 skills had been identified and programmes were being conducted on 41 skills, including making jute products, chalk pieces, recycled paper articles and candles, across 12 States, Mr. Gunasekar said.

The Ministry and the Institute offer a 90 per cent subsidy to institutions which are interested in implementing the programme, covering the cost of the raw materials and fee for trainers.

In Madurai, Bethshan Special School is the only institution to have implemented this programme.

Speaking about the programme, A. Jeyapal, coordinator of the school, said the three-month course was designed to develop independence of special students.

“Apart from making the products, we see this as an opportunity to let them go and buy raw materials from the market, handle currency and travel by the public transport,” he noted.

“The students were enthusiastic to do all this on their own and also learnt to package and label the products they made,” Mr. Jayapal added.

During the course of the programme, the products that the students made were sold to other institutions and were marketed by their parents.

“We will commence the second batch with a new skill in the school soon, and want this to be a continuous development process for the students,” said R. Ravikumar, principal of the school.

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