Visually challenged persons with a diploma in special teacher education have been waiting for 10 years for the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) to certify their qualification.
Around 200 students who studied the one-year course at the government regional centre in Poonamallee have been pursuing the issue with the commissioner for the differently abled with little success.
The course has been offered for several decades at the centre, which was initially a Central government institution and later taken over by the State government. Alumni say that since then the institution was required to annually send a letter to the RCI and renew the certification.
The procedure was followed only for a few years said an alumnus from the 1992 batch. According to a student from a later batch, they had been taking up the issue with successive principals, the only persons authorised to send the letter to RCI.
Though the principals promised no effort was made to renew the certification, they allege. According to the students, the RCI had asked the principal of the school to come to Delhi and seek the certification in person.
While the RCI certification is necessary for Central government jobs or for those in non-government organisations, those working in State government-run institutions will face no problem, the students said.
“My life is a question mark despite having made the effort to qualify for a job,” said an alumnus. The students are worried they will be replaced by those with proper certification when the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) recruits in June.
The special educators have been running from one department to another in search of an answer. The services of around 60 persons who were appointed to SSA schools would be terminated by June if their course remains unrecognised, the students said. When they tried to meet the commissioner V.K. Jayakodi, they were directed to approach the commissioner of SSA.
SSA officials then told them to get a letter from the commissioner for differently-abled persons.
Mr. Jayakodi said that he had taken up the matter with the SSA. “I have spoken to the director of SSA and we have also written to the RCI, seeking recognition for the course with retrospective effect (to cover students from 2002). In the meantime, we are also writing to the SSA on the issue.”
“Efforts are being made by the commissioner for differently abled persons to renew the certification. He has written to the RCI and within a week the certification will be received,” said Perumal, principal of the government regional centre.