As compared to its neighbours, Karnataka is not disabled-friendly. The state funds just 30 schools, a dismal number when compared to Maharashtra, which funds 900 schools, and Kerala, which supports 244 schools.
Making this incisive criticism, on Saturday, disability commissioner KV Rajanna said the commission is sending teams to neighbouring states to study how special schools are administered.
The reason for the government’s apathy is not absence of funds, said Rajanna.
“About Rs200 crore meant for disabled people is lying idle. According to the planning secretary, the sum exceeds Rs500 crore. The Mysore corporation has Rs1.75 crore in its corpus. The BBMP has Rs50 lakh,” he added. The commission would exert pressure on Mysore to utilise the money and in Bangalore, a core committee would be set up to draw up programmes for the rehabilitation of disabled people. The education system for special children is riddled with problems, including shortage of special educators. “Many schools take teachers from government schools on deputation.
The number of qualified educators is less than 1,000, of which many are not working,” he said.
Accessibility also remains an issue. It’s been 30 years since the curriculum was planned, he said.
The curriculum has to be revised to enable children to not just get pre-vocational training, but also secondary and higher secondary, said director TC Shivkumar.
“We are thinking of preparing children for ITI by changing the curriculum,” he said.
“We need 99 lakh special educators if we estimate that 1% of the population consists of disabled people,” he added.