Karnataka | RTE quota not easy to access

There is lack of awareness about the rights of people with disabilities even among officials.Shivaprasad M., a parent

The State government on International Day of Persons with Disabilities made the grand promise of implementing provisions of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, that enables free and compulsory education to special-needs children aged between six and 18.

But many officials are unaware of this, as the experience of Shivaprasad M., father of four years and nine-month-old Abhay S. Bhat testifies. Mr. Shivaprasad, who works as a salesperson, had pinned his hopes on the Right to Education (RTE) Act reservation quota in private unaided schools, but was taken aback when Education Department officials said Abhay was four months older than the age limit fixed by the department for admissions to LKG.

He said the department officials were not sensitised with the Persons with Disabilities Act and he was forced to run from pillar to post to get his online application form verified. Although he submitted the application on February 2, 2015 he had to wait for the intervention of the officials at the RTE helpline at the Department of Public Instruction to get the application verified two weeks later. “There is lack of awareness about the rights of people with disabilities even among the officials,” he says.

Mr. Shivaprasad, however, believes that integrated education would help children with special needs mingle with their peers and help them catch-up quickly. He says he has seen an improvement in his son’s motor reflexes after he joined pre-school. “His main challenge is coordination of motor reflexes and he also has difficulty in walking. But things are improving and that is why I want to send him to a mainstream school,” he says.

Source: The Hindu

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