Special educators sore with budget proposal to post counsellors

The State Budget proposal to appoint counsellors in schools to teach mild and moderate differently-abled students has not gone down well with special educators who have been doing the job for long.

Special educators are teachers with a Bachelor of Education degree in special education, while school counsellors are graduates in social work. There are 2,320 special educators across the State. They address the academic needs of students from the pre-primary level to the higher secondary section. They are appointed on contract basis and have been part of projects such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, and Inclusive Education for the Disabled. They also handle ‘White Board’, the online education scheme for disabled students, home-based education, and medical camps under block resource centres, among others.

“School counsellors address the emotional needs of differently-abled students. They need not know teaching techniques,” some special educators from the Malabar region told The Hindu on Monday. They are registered under the Rehabilitation Council of India and are supposed to renew their registration every five years.

Special educators also claimed that they had no job security, as they were part of projects which could be wound up any time. The State government is also not willing to implement a Kerala High Court order issued on June 30, 2016, which sought regularisation of services of those who have put in 10 years in the profession, they pointed out.

Though some special educators were earlier under the District Institutes of Education and Training, which come under the Education Department, they were made part of the Samagra Shiksha Keralam (SSK) soon after the High Court order. This was followed by a cut in salaries for some. The salary of special educators in higher secondary schools was slashed from ₹28,815 to ₹25,000 in 2018. Those in primary schools are getting ₹20,000 a month.

“Officials say since we are part of a Central project, our salary can be given only from the funds being released from time to time. But the State government had no qualms in increasing the salary of specialist teachers under the SSK from ₹7,000 to ₹14,000,” a special educator from Kozhikode said.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 3:07:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/special-educators-sore-with-budget-proposal-to-post-counsellors/article33604489.ece

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