VTT TEAM: Teachers for children with special needs
Current educational status of children with disabilities in India
Differing combinations of structural factors (such as caste, gender, religion, poverty etc.) intersect with disability resulting in varied individual experiences, but the broad commonalities that shape the lives of people with disabilities in India transcend these divisions. Their lives are largely marked by poverty and marginalisation from mainstream social processes. A recent study by the World Bank (2007), for example, noted that children with disability are five times more likely to be out of school than children belonging to scheduled castes or scheduled tribes Moreover, when children with disability do attend school they rarely progress beyond the primary level, leading ultimately to lower employment chances and long-term income poverty.
People with disabilities have much lower educational attainment rates, with 52 percent illiteracy against a 35 percent average for the general population. Illiteracy levels are high across all categories of disability, and extremely so for children with visual, multiple and mental disabilities (and for children with severe disabilities across all the categories). Equally, the share of children with disabilities who are out of school is around five and a half times the general rate and around four times even that of the ST population. Even in states with good educational indicators and high overall enrolments a significant share of out of school children are those with disabilities: in Kerala figures stand at 27 percent and in Tamil Nadu it is over 33 percent. Data also indicates that across all levels of severity, children with disability very rarely progress beyond primary school.
Some noteworthy trends in our sample were: • Young people with visual impairments had completed the highest numbers of years of education. All of them, except the two young men living in the rural area who had never attended any school, had attended a special school for a considerable number of years at some point in their educational journey. • Young people with hearing impairments had considerably less years of schooling; the highest class completed was only class 8. Their school journeys, unlike those of people with visual impairments, seemed more anchored in one system or the other, rather than shifts from special to mainstream or vice versa. While most of these young people had attended a mainstream school, two of them had studied in special schools. • All our sample young men and women with physical impairments had received some school education and they had studied only in the mainstream setting.
Training of teachers
There is currently no pre-service training offered to regular teachers' which familiarises them with the education of children with special needs ; the focus is only on providing in-service training. Even though the quality of teaching is becoming a concern for all children and there is growing international research evidence to suggest that pedagogical practices adopted for children with disabilities are primarily good teaching practices for all children, the government continues to largely neglect this area.
The main problem in India there is no improvement in the education of children with special needs.They study in schools which never makes really benefit the children , but just ensure that children are in school and there by reduce the burden of looking after the children during school time. By introducing new teaching methods many children can be made more independent and they may be able to take up a job in future . In the west they have far more advanced teaching methods and we wish to send a team of teachers with degree or post graduate degree in teaching children with learning disabilities to such countries to see and acquire knowledge in teaching methods. We wish to sent 5 heads of premier institutions in the state of Kerala ,India which provides education for children with special needs. Once they come back, they can provide more training to local teachers or work with government in planning educational development in this sector.
We seek the assistance of Rotary Districts or clubs in USA , Canada or UK who can host VTT TEAM and find schools for children with special needs were they can acquire knowledge in the educational system. Out of the grant amount , after providing provision for meeting the expenses of travel and other incidental expenses , a provision for doing project worth US$15000 can be incorporated in the budget which will be used to undertake needed development of such schools in the host country .