Visually-impaired teachers are waging a difficult battle.

They may have qualified under the special B.Ed degree category but are not considered for jobs.

Then there are the sighted persons who have undergone special training to teach the visually-challenged students; their course is either not recognised by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) or they have not received salaries for several years.

A. Selvakumar of Mettur is qualified to train visually-challenged students of classes IX to XII but he has been working without a salary for over two years as a researcher under the Inclusive Education of the Disabled at Secondary Stage, a Central government-funded scheme. His suffering is compounded as the course he studied has not received RCI recognition. Like him, there are around 250 persons across the State.

“I am qualified to teach higher secondary students but when I was offered the Central government project I took it up as the salary was Rs. 20,000. When it was run by a non-governmental organisation, everything was fine. Then in 2006, the Central government took over the programme and since then, several of my seniors have worked without a salary. A few months ago, the salaries for 2009-2010 were disbursed. My family relies on my income. Without a recognised certificate from the Council, I don’t stand the chance of geting a job anywhere,” Mr. Selvakumar said.

The situation is worse for candidates with disabilities. The State government recently appointed 114 persons, of whom 27 are persons with disability.

The request for certification must come from the Government Higher Secondary School for the Visually Impaired in Poonamallee. V. Gopal, principal of the school, said it had sent the request many months ago along with the required fee but the RCI had not responded yet.

C. Govindakrishnan, founder of Nethrodaya, said his organisation had sought RCI inspection to start the special B.Ed programme 10 months ago.

“We have not received any response from them. The government, through an order last year, agreed to consider the special B.Ed programme on a par with the regular programme but even that has not happened yet,” he said.

Mr. Govindakrishnan said the school education department should take the step to make it easier for the candidates in order to ensure that visually-challenged students enrolled in various schools benefit.

They have qualified under the special B.Ed degree category but are not considered for jobs

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