five districts do not have a single special educator
At a time when students with disability ought to be dealt with a lot of care and sensibility, only 675 special educators are available to impart training to 1,20,000 children enrolled as physically challenged in primary and upper primary schools in the State .
As many as five districts do not have a single special educator despite the fact that hundreds of visually handicapped students have taken admissions in the schools.
Districts such as Boudh, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Nabarangpur and Subarnapur districts have no special educators for visually handicapped student, although 1993 students have been enrolled.
In all 30 districts, there are only 127 special educators for 22,942 visually impaired students.
Another five districts have one special educator each to look after hundreds of visually handicapped students. In Koraput, 920 visually impaired students are in schools.
However, School and Mass Education Department has found only one special educator. Other districts with one special educator are Sambalpur, Nuapada, Malkangiri and Rayagada.
Similarly, 35,223 hearing impaired students have been identified to be studying in school. But only 271 special educators have been engaged. In two districts like Malkangiri and Deogarh, only one special educator each has been found for HI students.
However, worse scenario can be noticed in autism and multiple disability section. Not a single special educator has been appointed for 639 autistic children and 6,883 students with multiple disabilities.
For 20,347 students suffering from mental retardation, the State has only 172 special educators. Similarly, 105 educators possessing special skills have been appointed for students with cerebral palsy. Some of the districts do not have special educators for these disabilities.
“Availability of special educators for students with disabilities is grossly inadequate. When States like Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Karnataka have achieved such a good progress, scenario in Odisha is very distressing,” said Sruti Mohapatra, a prominent activist in the field of disability.