All the students with Special Education Needs (SEN) will follow the same guidelines as the students in general schools. The opening of SEN schools will be as per the COVID-19 protocols and respective inclusive schools have developed their own guidelines for the students to report to the schools.
However, SEN students in some schools have yet to report, and the respective inclusive schools are preparing as how the students will report to the schools as schools are still taking in admission for the children with disabilities.
An official from the education ministry said all the inclusive schools are open, but the students are yet to report to the schools as students in some schools are still writing their exams.
Since the inclusive schools and institutes have students with mild, moderate to severe disabilities, they will identify the programs for students depending on their severity. However, the SEN teachers will access the needs and change in plans after all the students have reported to their schools.
An official said there are 777 children in 18 schools with the SEN program and two special institutes as of 2020, and still they do not have a separate budget. The schools do not have a separate budget to support SEN students. The specialized program needs a separate budget to ensure the quality is not compromised.
While the schools are opening and children are yet to report, the ministry hopes that there will not be much problem and children will attend their classes normally, said an official.
During the national lockdown, students in the SEN program were learning through online classes, they were provided with self-instructional materials, and teachers also visited individual students at their home. It was difficult for the students to understand as they were not used to e-learning and moreover 90 percent of the students did not have smartphones, depending solely on their parents and guardian to get connected.
Digitizing education is a good initiative but it should be made accessible to them. So it is important to provide them with the devices and connectivity. Both students and parents will benefit from it and it is also important to sensitize them on this and also a best alternative, said an official.
Meanwhile, the SEN division is yet to procure digital tablets for the students to learn.