Published: 09th July 2022
Karnataka: Why did only 21% of PwDs complete their secondary and higher education?
The director said that a barrier-free environment must be put in place for the children to be able to create a better life for themselves
The per cent of disabled people in Karnataka with the highest level of completed secondary education or higher is only 21 per cent according to the statistical 2021 report for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in India.
The literacy rate of persons of age seven years and above is 51 per cent but the per cent with completed secondary and higher education is less than half in comparison. Rangnath, senior training coordinator at Action on Disability and Development (ADD) India said, the schemes, reservations and support from the government have been put in place but the problem is in the implementation of them.
Talking about schools not having the appropriate infrastructure to support special children, Rangnath added that many times schools do not have ramps, accessible toilets and trained staff to give extra care to the children.
Such reasons lead children to drop out of school many times and they end up not enrolling for higher education. He questioned the government's lack of responsibility for not taking any actions despite all facilities in place. There is a four per cent reservation for disabled people in government jobs but many times, positions remain vacant because people do not qualify for them. The reason being fewer people enrolling for higher education.
KS Lathakumari, Director, Department for the Empowerment of Differently Abled and Senior Citizens, said, there was no proper mechanism as such, either for managing data or identifying disabled people across the state.
Even the current data available for the disabled population is from the 2011 census. The director said that a barrier-free environment must be put in place for the children to be able to create a better life for themselves. With the New Education Policy (NEP) and the disability acts already in place they intend on creating an inclusive environment for the children to be financially independent.
Anita Reji, Co-founder of Beautiful Together, a Bengaluru-based organisation for empowering disabled people said, many times schools deny admitting special children as they do not have the equipment to cater to them. This demoralises the children many times, the pace at which Karnataka schools have tried being inclusive for all children has been very slow, she added.
Individual attention and extra care must be given to such children than being indifferent towards them. She also said that normal schools must be made more inclusive than just special schools as many times they are expensive. People from a good economic background would be able to afford but others might not be.