Thiruvananthapuram

Dearth of resource teachers undermines ideals of inclusive education

In a room at Government Higher Secondary School for Girls, Cotton Hill, A.S. Shara, a resource teacher appointed to attend to students with special needs, guides a few children. A girl with dyslexia arrives for a one-hour session with Shara; others too make demands on her time.



Two resource teachers at the school take care of 81 special children with conditions ranging from dyslexia to cerebral palsy. At Government Vocational Higher Secondary School for Girls, Manacaud, three teachers look after 74 children, while four teachers attend to over 180 children at St. Mary’s Higher Secondary School, Pattom.



Shortage of resource teachers has come in the way of bringing students with special needs into the mainstream as envisaged under inclusive education for the disabled (IED).



Norms



Union government norms stipulate that if there are more than five students with special needs in a school, one resource teacher has to be appointed. In the State, however, the ratio is far from ideal.



There are only around 690 resource teachers to take care of 25,924 children with special needs from classes 9 to 12 in the State.



The required figure is 725.



“Interviews for the appointment of the remaining teachers are on,” says IED Deputy Director R. Rajan.



“Annual proposals are given to the Union government for appointing additional teachers. However, no additional appointments are being made. If the number of teachers is increased, say to 1,500, a lot of problems can be addressed,” he adds.



In Thiruvananthapuram district, there are 99 resource teachers for 1,273 children with special needs in classes 9 and 10 in 161 schools, as per figures made available by the District Institute of Education and Training.



HSS students left out



Also, resource teachers in the State are asked to focus only on classes 9 and 10. So, those studying in classes 11 and 12 do not get enough attention. In 22 schools in Thiruvananthapuram district, resource teachers are present six days a week. But in the remaining 139 schools, teachers split their week between two schools. This, Mr. Rajan, says is owing to shortage of teachers and of students. For instance, he says, a school may have only three children with special needs in classes 9 and 10. Since there are less than five children, the teachers visit another school as well for three days. The result is that the time a teacher is able to devote to a child is highly inadequate. And without proper attention, these children are rarely equipped enough to manage on their own.




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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 9:26:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/dearth-of-resource-teachers-undermines-ideals-of-inclusive-education/article7506335.ece

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