Sangeetha Unnithan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government is embarking on a project to strengthen the Buds Special School initiative for children with mental and developmental problems and extend the network to panchayats across the State.

In an order issued recently, the government has directed panchayats to constitute special committees to monitor and streamline the functioning of Buds Special Schools. This includes the setting up of a district-level advisory committee with the district panchayat president as chairman and panchayat-level development management committees comprising elected representatives, officials, social workers, ex-officio members and representatives of parents.

The government order was issued on a request from the executive director of Kudumbasree, the nodal agency for the Buds Special School project which was started in 2003 in Venganoor panchayat in Thiruvananthapuram. Today there are Buds Schools in 11 panchayats across the State.

“More panchayats are now coming forward with requests to set up special schools,” said A. Jayakumar, officer in charge of social developmental activities under Kudumbasree.

Though Buds School is an initiative started by the Kudumbashree Mission, the ownership of the schools is with the respective grama panchayat. Kudumbashree acts as a facilitator coordinating the functioning of the schools with other agencies involved in the project. Kudumbashree also helps in raising funds for the schools, apart from the budgetary allocation by the respective grama panchayat.Mr. Jayakumar said Kudumbashree had decided to strengthen the Buds School network to give professional training and guidance to differently-abled children from rural areas.