Tamil Nadu trails its neighbours when it comes to educating children with disabilities (CWDs), a Unesco New Delhi report, ‘State of the Education Report for India 2019: Children with Disabilities’, points out.
The report, released in the city on Thursday, provides information on the current state of education of CWDs. It documents the many efforts undertaken in the country for their education, while also highlighting the gaps.
Using data from Census 2011, and other sources, it points out that in Tamil Nadu, 23.4% of children with disabilities never attend an educational institution. The number is higher than those in Kerala and Karnataka, at 17.9 and 21.6, respectively.
The report, the substance of which was developed by the researchers at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, was launched at the National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities in collaboration with CBM India Trust.
Lower literacy rates
Speaking at the event, Eric Falt, Unesco New Delhi director, said for the report, teams went across States to document examples of how public and private institutions provided education to CWDs. “The report looks constructively at gaps between legislation and implementation,” he said, highlighting the fact that among persons with disabilities, the literacy rate was lower than the national rate, and that less than one-third joined the workforce.
Director of NIEPMD Himangshu Das said one of the key requirements was the appointment of a special educator at every government school in the State. He requested the government to set up a rehabilitation university and a specialised skilling college for persons with disabilities. P. Jeyachandran of Vijay Human Service, an organisation working with persons with intellectual disabilities, requested better salaries for special educators in the State.
Tamil Culture Minister K. Pandiarajan said the government would take cognisance of the requests. He added that work on building a skills college was under way.
Amending the Right to Education Act, 2009, to better align with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, by including specific concerns of education of children with disabilities, was one among the 10 recommendations made by the report.
Representatives from other organisations participated in the event.