Special educators threaten stir from January 16

The Karnataka State Association for Special Educators and Supportive Staff have threatened to launch an agitation on January 16, if grants were not released to the special schools.

Special children along with their parents and special educators would be asked to gherao into the office of the Department of Differently Abled and Senior Citizens in Bangalore. 

Addressing a press meet here on Saturday, Secretary Vasanth Kumar Shetty said that though there are several institutes that deal with children with mental disabilities, only 38 of them get government grants as per the State policy of 1982.

States such as Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra release grants for all special schools, and pay teachers according to the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations. However, here, grants are not released and schools are finding it difficult to manage the show. No one is prepared to become a teacher here as they join schools in neighbouring States for better pay, he said. 

Consequently, hardly a few were keen to become special educators. This was evident by the fact that hardly a few candidates in the two special educators training institutes in Bangalore and Mangalore.  

A few schools were getting grants under the child-centric (Shishu-kendrita) grants of the State government. However, the grant has not been released during the year. Those getting State grants under the new child-centric grants got Rs 6,000 for special educators and Rs 3,750 for assistants respectively. 

However, the government has failed to release the amount during the year. The department had released the amount last year. However, now it is stating that no financial assistance will be given for those children who are above 20 years old. Many schools for mentally challenges have children who are above 20 years. Many schools being run by non-governmental organisations were in a pitiable condition as the assistance being given by the government was reduced year after year, said Meera Sathish.

At the same time, unlike government and aided schools, the special schools do not have mid-day meal scheme. Except in Mangalore where Kateel temple offers food to the students, no schools in other districts have the facility, Shetty said.  

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