The Chief Minister said education has the capacity not only to change one's life for better but it could also change ones fate too.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy launched distribution of spectacles to needy schoolchildren here on Friday under the ‘Chinnari Choopu’ programme being implemented jointly by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and the Departments of School Education and Health.

Children identified with sight-related problems during the preliminary eye check-up conducted in the first phase of the scheme would be examined by paramedical ophthalmic officers to decide whether they required surgical intervention or aids like spectacles were enough to improve their eye sight.

In all, 4.7-lakh out of about 80-lakh children studying in 79,500 government schools were identified with different sight and eye-related problems in the first phase. Besides, over 6,000 children were also shortlisted for cataract surgeries as they were found to be suffering with congenital cataract.

The schoolchildren being examined in the second phase, which would be continued till January 31, 2013, would be tested for defects in eye sight and given spectacles. Surgeries to children recommended for it would be conducted in the third phase.

The Chief Minister said education has the capacity not only to change ones life for better but it could also change ones fate too. He asked the students to inculcate the attitude to face any challenge in life. Sports are made compulsory to make the students stronger physically and psychologically, he stated.

He admitted that a lot is yet to be done though the government had brought in some reforms to improve quality of education. He also stressed the need for taking up dental check-up for students. Over 21,700 children are being given physiotherapy and speech therapy in their homes by mandal-level resource teachers, he noted.

Minister for School Education S. Sailajanath stated that they have also identified 1,660 students with cleft-lip and cleft-palate problems and their deformities would be corrected through surgeries. About 4,300 such children were already helped with surgeries since 2009 under SSA, he noted.