Parents of intellectually disabled children petition Kerala Education Minister for immediate reopening of special schools

Though online classes are being held for special children, they only serve a limited purpose. File   | Photo Credit: Moorthy G.

Parents of the intellectually-disabled children on Wednesday petitioned Kerala Education Minister V. Sivankutty and sought immediate re-opening of 325-off special schools in the State to alleviate the hardships of the parents and the development challenges faced by their wards on being kept away from schools for over one-and-a-half years now.

The petition was handed over to Mr. Sivankutty under the aegis of the Parents Association for the Intellectually Disabled (PAID).

“Since these children need special care, at least one of the parents cannot go to work affecting the livelihood and income of the family. Children have also turned increasingly violent and developed other behavioural issues disrupting the peace at households. In fact, we are still leading a life akin to the lockdown as we continue to remain locked up in our homes with our children,” said K.M. George, State president, PAID.

The petition said the reopening of special schools and hostels will enable parents to leave their wards in the responsibility and care of those institutions, thus helping them restore their livelihoods. We have to go to work to raise the resources to take of our children, it said.

In a question raised regarding the matter in the Assembly, the government had responded to the effect that special schools will be opened once the functioning of normal schools, which were recently opened, is stabilised and its impact is assessed since the special children are more vulnerable.

“An extremely difficult task awaits special school teachers as they would have to start from zero to familiarise the children with the school atmosphere yet again. Gaps appeared even when children returned to school after the weekends and this time we are talking about a break of over a year,” said Susheela Kuriachan, vice-chairperson, Association of the Intellectually Disabled.

Though online classes are being held, they only serve a limited purpose. Besides, teachers are also under immense stress of working with little pay. The reopening of normal schools means that siblings who used to take care of the special children in the absence of parents are also no longer there.

Transportation of children is likely to remain a problem when schools reopen as most of the school buses have fallen into disrepair and it would need considerable funds to turn them road-worthy again. So, parents will have to drop them at schools, said Ms. Kuriachan.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 3:05:12 AM |

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