25 June 2012
Activists say state govt promised 25 per cent quota for disabled children, but have failed to implement it
In the furore regarding the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, it seems concerned parties have ignored disabled children’s right to education. Jayant Jain, director of the Forum for Fairness in Education (FFE), said, "The state government has not declared any quota for the admissions of disabled children, and nobody knows how to seek admissions under that category. We had requested the government to take this into consideration three years ago. They had even told us that they are ready to grant 25 per cent reservation for such children, but did nothing of the sort. No school has even printed separate application forms for disabled kids."
NGOs have demanded 3 per cent reservation for HIV-infected children and the rest of the 22 per cent for disabled children in all the schools across the state.
Since the RTE exempted unaided minority schools from its ambit, all private schools seem to be running to seek minority status. Since there is no notification about admissions for disabled children, schools do not hesitate to deny them a place. "Most schools claim they are minority institutions and the ones left have already applied for the status. By this year, 90 per cent of all schools will be minority institutions," added Jain.
The central government’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) scheme has also come under fire for having no provision for the disabled. Sanjay Deshmukh, SSA state project director, said, "SSA has declared no quota or reservation for the inclusion of disabled children, but we have other facilities and provisions for them. Over 3,25,000 children will be enrolled under these provisions."