Inclusive education for the differently-abled is set to get a boost in the State, with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan introducing a host of initiatives in the current academic year.
The budget allocation to implement inclusive quality education has been increased from Rs.13 crore last year to Rs.39 crore. Based on a survey, a total of 1.3 lakh children, in the age group of six to 14, would be covered under various programmes.
More special educators are being recruited and their salaries have been increased.
“From two special educators taking care of a block, the number of teachers has been increased to five,” said R. Venkatesan, State Project Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The salaries have also been increased to Rs.8,500. Previously teachers received Rs.5,000 per month.
According to S. Selvakumar, State Coordinator for Inclusive Education, there are 413 blocks in the State, with an average of 300 special children with different levels of disability in each block.
Recruiting more special educators would mean addressing the various issues, said Mr. Selvakumar. “Currently, there are around 826 teachers and the vacancies would be filled in by August,” he said.
A ‘Special Residential Bridge Course' for mentally challenged children in 17 districts is also being introduced, with 25 centres that would cater to their needs. Each school would have four residential mothers, said officials.
Strengthening of resource rooms and training to parents are a few other steps.
Talking about the success of the various initiatives, Mr. Selvakumar said that around 90,000 children have so far been enrolled in mainstream school due to timely intervention.