Vagjothi, a ray of hope for special children

There are hundreds of special children in the society who most often lack the much needed attention for the growth of their personality. But, the ray of hope comes to their lives in the form of special schools which are established to serve the needs of special children, by addressing their mental or physical deformities and training them for better.

One such school that is doing a commendable job by training special children is Vagjothi Residential School for Hearing Impaired, located at Siddhapura in Kundapur taluk. The school accommodates 30 challenged children who are trained and taken care by 11 dedicated teachers and four non-teaching staff. These children are studying in various classes starting from I to VIII standard.

The school which was established in the year 2000 is managed by entrepreneur Dr G Shankar since 2005. Therapists visit the school from Manipal Allied Health Science once in 15 days to offer therapies to children. The school stands apart for it not only teaches academics to students, but also emphasises on extra-curricular activities. The school teachers teach yakshagana, dance, yoga, speech, horticulture and craft activities to children to make them active. Each teacher takes the lead for different sections. The students will be then sent for professional training, which allows them to be a part of the mainstream society.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Vagjothi Residential School Head Master and Karnataka Special Teacher Awardee Raveendra H said that special children need understanding, patience and respect. Positive support can help them to lead an independent life. The special schools have more responsibilities and duties than other normal schools and Vagjothi is doing its best to help one section of the society, he said.

Spl teachers lack attention

Though, special school teachers are doing their best to train special children, it is unfortunate that the problems faced by teachers and their demands have not been addressed by the government.

The special teachers feel that if they were given aids as per their demand, teachers would have got job security. But the aid which is being provided now is children centric, they say. At present, these teachers are working as daily wage workers and are given honorarium for their work.

There is no difference between senior and junior teachers regarding the pay scale and there is no value for the service of a teacher in the special school. In Sarva Shiksha Abhiyana and Home Based Education system, teachers are appointed on contract basis and hence there is no protection for them even under SSA, says a special teacher.

Regarding the issue, the Special Teachers’ Association will meet MLA Basavaraj Horatti and other minister at the convention of State specially abled children, teachers and non-teachers to be held in Gadag on July 19 and convey their problems and request to sanction teacher-based aid. The special teachers are in hope for a better future.

Special teachers feel that the State government should provide teacher-based aid to special schools and should treat special teachers as normal school teachers by providing job security to them. As many as 68 special schools have been selected to receive children-based aid from the State government from this September, after the discontinuation of aid by the Central government reportedly due to lack of funds.

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