Published: 01st July 2019
No fund from Kerala government, special school teachers, students, parents strike
Teachers, students and parents will be taking part in the strike and the sit-in protest in front of the Secretariat
The woes of teachers and students of special schools in Kerala never seem to end. Though successive governments had given an undertaking and a special financial package was announced in the 2018 budget, 325 special needs schools are yet to receive even a penny.
Hence, the Association for the Intellectually Disabled (AID) along with like-minded organisations and school managements have decided to go on indefinite strike from July 1. Teachers, students and parents will be taking part in the strike and the sit-in protest in front of the Secretariat.
Susheela Kuriachan, AID vice-chairperson, said nearly 50 years have passed since the establishment of the first special school that caters to the educational needs of intellectually disabled children.
“Though the government has facilitated free education for over 45 lakh regular students and also those with physical disabilities, it remains blind to the needs of our students,” she said.
“They are not like regular kids. They can’t be taught in a normal school since they are intellectually challenged. Hence, they need the care and help of trained teachers who understand them and their problems,” she said.
Even the RTE Act says every child aged between six and 14 has to be given free and compulsory education, she said. “However, 30,000- plus students studying in around 325 special schools in the state are being denied their rights,” she said.
She said teachers of these schools too are a neglected lot. “Even as their counterparts in the regular schools earn more than Rs 30,000 per month, those teaching in special schools draw a meagre salary,” she said. AID members said the so-called aid being provided by the government is insufficient.
“In 2015, we were assured we will be given aided status. Then came the special package lie in 2018,” said Fr Roy Mathew Vadakkel, AID chairman.
“Parents under the aegis of Parents’ Association of the Intellectually Disabled (PAID) will stage a protest on July 4. If the government doesn’t take steps to meet our legitimate demands we will go an indefinite hunger strike from July 5,” he said.
Give aided status to special schools in a phased manner. Implement grading system
Follow Rehabilitation Council of India guidelines on staff appointments. Provide job security for teachers