Education for the Specially Abled

Education for the Specially Abled
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Education in Kashmir, once the privilege of the few, has gradually and inexorably become broad based and widespread. There is now expanded access to education with people here viewing it both in terms of its intrinsic worth and as an avenue of social and economic mobility. The vociferous demand for education and the lacunas in its provision by the Government has been met by private educational service providers. All this is well and good, but amidst the cacophony and buzz around education and its provision, what is and continues to be lost is robust education for the specially abled. These children either have to suffer by getting deprived of education or, getting a sub standard one. What this amounts to is depriving a child of a dignified life, which may even constitute a flagrant violation of his or her human rights. The question that arises here is: why is there either no infrastructure for the especially abled? Or, if there exists any, it is sub standard and shoddy. The answer is simple and clear cut: those entrusted with provision of education or those who purport to deliver hold educating the specially abled as onerous and burdensome. It amounts to stating the obvious that it is not easy to take care of the specially abled and this becomes salient and poignant when it comes to educating them. But, this does not and should not mean abdication of societal and individual responsibility to these special people. Specially abled children have every right to live fuller, dignified and expansive lives and it is the duty and an obligation of society to ensure that get this opportunity. Education is one such avenue which can make this somewhat fuller life possible. It is high time that society wakes up to this issue and demands special privileges for the specially abled. Besides activism towards this end, members of society must demand from all education providers to not just keep special quotas for such children for merely formal reasons and pay lip service to the welfare and development of the specially abled but robustly and ethically educate them. But, the best solution to the issue of educating our specially abled might be building and developing special schools for them which are customized and tailor made to their needs. Let some social entrepreneur come up with a bright idea and fulfill this special need in society and help the specially abled to not only reach their potential but live productive , enriching and dignified lives.