The recent NCERT study gives a bright picture. There was a 17.36% rise in enrollment of visually challenged children in schools between 2002 and 2009. This was stated in NCERT’s eighth all-India school education survey.
The numbers tell the story…
- The survey revealed that visually impaired accounted for 29.16% of the differently abled students in the country. There were 2.5 lakh visually challenged students among 8.35 lakh differently-abled.
- Also, there were 25% students with orthopedic (locomotor) disability, followed by intellectual impairment gripping 22.35% school students. Around 14% students were hearing impaired, 4.40% had multiple impairment and 4.77% other disabilities.
- The survey shows that in 2002, there were 2.07 lakh students with visual impairment in schools.
- The survey regarding schooling facilities for children with disabilities revealed that out of a total 12,99,902 schools in the country, only 2,74,445 (21.11%) adhere to inclusive education for disabled children.
- Of these, primary, upper primary, secondary and higher secondary schools adhering to inclusive education were 1,65,966 (60.47%), 77,757 (28.33%), 18,084 (6.59%) and 12,638 (5.07%).
- The number of teachers, who had received training of at least two weeks in inclusive education, was also dismal. Only 1.32% teachers were equipped to handle special children, which is 80,942 out of 58,76,273 teachers.
- With 40,635 students, Maharashtra had the highest number of visually challenged students in schools, followed by the country’s most literate state Kerala with 38,230 students.
- From 2002 to 2009, the number of visually challenged children going to school increased by 36,031. Whereas, hearing, orthopaedic and intellectual impairments came down by 3.98%, 68.05% and 15.59%.
- Y Sreekanth, who heads NCERT’s educational survey division says increased health check-ups in schools could be one of the reasons for high number of students with visual impairment.
- Likewise, the drastic decrease in orthopedic impairment could be due to the pulse polio programme.
- After Maharashtra and Kerala, West Bengal had 27,386 visually-impaired kids. Gujarat and Karnataka came next with 23,637 and 17,358 school children with visual impairment.