A UNESCO-sponsored report has sharply criticized Gujarat for failing to be disability-friendly towards children aged 5-19. The report says that all state rules for implementing the Right to Education Act, 2006, for instance, “provide for safe transportation to and from school for children with disabilities” with the exception of Gujarat and Uttarakhand.
Prepared by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, “N for Nose: State of the Education Report for India 2019: Children with Disabilities”, while commenting on other state RTE rules, the report continues, “Karnataka and Kerala are the only two states whose RTE rules provide for assistive devices and reasonable accommodation.”
It says, “While most state rules entrust School Management Committees (SMCs) with the identification and enrolment of children with disabilities, and their participation in and completion of elementary education, they do not necessarily specify representation of their parents or guardians or that of the children themselves wherever student participation is provided for.”
It adds, “Except Kerala, none of the state rules refer to special schools for children with disabilities in their RTE rules.” Worse, it says, a study of gender gaps of children with disabilities across states reveals that Gujarat is one of the top states having “gender gaps at both secondary and higher secondary levels.” Other States are Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra.
The report says, figures for enrolment at secondary and higher secondary levels by gender shows that in Gujarat’s Grades IX-X 6,357 are boys and 3,913 girls, and in Grades XI-XII 2,233 are boys and 1,609 girls. Quoting an audit report, it adds, in Gujarat, braille books “were not provided to 9,189 children between 2010 and 2016.” Reason? “Approved cost of Braille books was very low in comparison to actual cost, and there was no participation in online tender for Braille books.”