No let-up in state’s dismal performance for disabled

No let-up in state’s dismal performance for disabled
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Even funding not yet decided for proposed special school


SRINAGAR: The School Education Department has failed to set up the Valley’s lone special school for disabled children, announced three months ago, with the government “still undecided” over the source of its funding.
Realising the lack of basic facilities for disabled children in Valley schools, former Education Minister Choudhry Zulfikar had in June this year announced a special school for such children, which was supposed to be set up inside the premises of the Government Girls’ Higher Secondary School, Sonwar.
A similar school was to be set up in winter capital Jammu at a higher secondary school in Bakhshi Nagar.
A government order was also issued in this regard by the School Education Department.
While Choudhry claimed that money for constructing the two special schools “stands released to the two directorates”, Director School Education Kashmir Dr G N Itoo said that the department was “still undecided over the source of funding” for the proposed schools.
Each of the schools, Itoo said, required a funding of “up to Rs 12 crore”.
Itoo said that they were preparing a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the proposed school at Sonwar.
He said that a special sub-committee headed by Joint Director Central Abid Hussain had been set up to recommend the special requirements for the children at the school.
Besides Hussain, a research officer from the State Institute of Education (SIE), an Executive Engineer from the department’s Engineering Wing and a member from the Kindergarten Group are members of the sub-committee.
Itoo said that the members were chosen considering their work with disabled children.
“The moment we get the report from the sub-committee, we will submit the DPR to the government,” he added.
Joint Director Central Abid Hussain, who is the chairman of the sub-committee, however said that he had “no idea” about the sub-committee.
Another member of the sub-committee told Kashmir Reader that they were yet to have their first meeting.
The member however said that a “general report” on the inclusive education component had already been submitted to the department.
An insider from Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Sonwar, where the special school is to be set up, told Kashmir Reader that the School Education Department was yet to intimate them about the project.
It is worth mentioning that out of the 23,341 specially abled children in the state, only 17,705 were enrolled in government schools last year, as per official data.
Besides, a meager Rs 8 a day on each of the over 13,000 ‘benefited’, specially-abled children in the state was spent last year, as revealed by official records.