No textbooks yet for dyslexic SSLC students

Term II is here, but no sign of reading material for alternative subjects

 
As a reaction to reforms initiated by the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE), and a sustained struggle by parents, the State government had announced that dyslexic students and slow learners will be given the option of studying Political Science, Indian Economics, Sociology and Indian Music from the 2009-‘10 academic year.

However, with the first term coming to an end, there is still no trace of text books or reading material for the alternative subjects, rendering the policy moot. Further, the absence of classroom teaching for these subjects compounds the problem as the students who opt for these subjects will have to rely solely on the reading material.

The Director of the KSEEB, D S Rajanna says “the books are there but we have not printed them as we do not know what quantity to print them in.” He adds that he was giving away copies of the manuscripts of the text books to parents who approached him.

But a parent of an SSLC student said, “We have run from pillar to post looking for the textbooks but there is no sign of them. And when we enquired with the board they presented me with a Kannada manuscript of a sociology textbook and asked to get it translated to English. Further, they did not have any syllabus.”

No option

The concerned parent added that there was no choice now but to study the regular subjects as it was an additional burden to ask students suffering from learning disabilites to study the syllabus in  a short time.

Professor K S Gopalan, the President of the Malleswaram Dyslexia Association who was instrumental in getting the policy in place for SSLC students, says that getting the directors at the secondary education level to act has been a struggle.

“We have received full support at the secretariat level and they immediately approved the idea. But the directors at the board simply do not act,” he says. He also reveals that he personally had to prepare and type the government order at the education department as the staff just would not act and then get it signed by the secretary.

However, Rajanna says that the prescribed syllabus is available but the whole process can be “stream-lined only next year” as there was no available record yet on how many dyslexic students were appearing for their SSLC examination in 2009-10. Meanwhile, Professor Gopalan says that he has already started advising parents that the policy will not benefit students appearing for SSLC this year.

It is estimated that about 15 percent of school children in the country suffer from one form of learning disability or another. And unofficial nation-wide figures put the number of students suffering from dyslexia at three or four students in a class of 60.

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