Showing posts with label education of CWSN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label education of CWSN. Show all posts

Friday, August 8, 2014

Special Educators & Barrier Free Private schools remains a distant dream despite Court Orders

Dear colleagues,

Please refer to my earlier blog entry titled  Delhi High Court directs the private schools to make their schools barrier free and inclusive dated 07th May 2013 detailing the implications of Delhi High Court Judgement in WP(C) 4618/2011.   The Department of Education, Govt. of Delhi has been sleeping over this judgement dated 05th Sep 2012 in the matter titled Social Jurist Versus Govt of NCT of Delhi  [WP (C) 4618/2011](click on the case number to access the Judgement) indicates how serious the government has been on the issues related to the education of the children with disabilities in Delhi.

The government made no efforts to ensure whether the judgement was implemented in its true letter and spirit by the strong lobby of private unaided schools. It only woke up after the matter has been again taken up through another PIL titled Pramod Arora Versus Lt. Governor of Delhi  & others [WP (C) 1225 of 2014] in which the Hon'ble Delhi High Court passed another judgement  03rd April 2014.   (click on the case number to access the Judgement).

Now the Directorate of Education, Govt. of Delhi vide its Notification No. DE-15/Act-I/WPC-1225/2014/25415-25416 dated 04.08.2014 regarding appointment of special educators & making the buildings/ schools premises barrier free to provide access to children with disabilities has directed the Private unaided schools to update the data whether they have made appointments of special educators in their schools or not and whether they ensure barrier free environment in their schools as per the directions of the Hon'ble Court in the above two judgements. A copy of the above notification is pasted below in the image format.



We hope the Govt. will be serious this time to bring the defaulting private unaided schools to book and ensure that the inclusive education becomes a reality.


Media Coverage: Daily Pioneer


Tuesday, 05 August 2014 | SR | New Delhi

After facing the ire of the Delhi High Court, the Directorate of Education (DoE) on Monday issued a notice to all unaided private schools of Delhi to recruit special educators and make their schools premises barrier-free so as to provide movement and access to the children with disabilities. The notice has been issued by the directorate following a mandate by the High Court asking for a compliance report at the earliest.

According to a notice issued by Additional Director of Education Madhu Teotia, the unaided private schools of Delhi must comply with the 2012 order of the High Court which directed the schools to appoint special educators for disabled students.  The court granted time till September 9 this year to appoint these special educators and time till March 2013 to make the school premises barrier-free. The matter of appointment of special educators for the disabled children and other connected issues, have again been agitated before the High Court during the proceedings of another case, wherein, the court directed the department to submit a compliance report with regard to the same along with other related directions,” Teotia said.

The notice also highlights that despite several reminders to private schools, this matter was not taken seriously. Teotia had asked the schools to upload special educators and disabled children related information on a module which has been made available on the Directorate of Education website.

“However, it has been found that most of the schools are still to upload the requisite information on the website. Therefore, in strict compliance, private schools must upload the requisite information regarding disabled children on the department's website on the aforesaid module immediately if not done so already. They should additionally appoint special educators in their schools, if not appointed so far, at the earliest but not later than the time granted by the court. They must also make their building, school premises barrier-free for the disabled children immediately, if not done yet,” Teotia informed.

To ensure complete compliance of the mandate, Teotia has asked all Deputy Directors of Education to monitor this case on top priority as “being a High Court matter even contempt of the court is involved.”

The Deputy Directors of Education are expected to bring the status report in this case on August 6 to a meeting with Director of Education Padmini Singla. They are supposed to also bring along with them the names of the defaulting private schools and initiation of action against such schools. “Non-compliance of the order shall be viewed seriously,” informed Teotia.  
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

After Contempt petition, Deptt of Education, Delhi notifies nursery seats for children with disabilities

Please refer to my earlier posts titled  Disability angle in Nursery admission norms - HC issues notice to centre dated 26 Feb 2014 and Child with special needs distinct from disadvantage group under RTE dated 04 April 2014 on the subject. 

The Directorate of Education has finally notified the  high court order on the admission of disabled children into nursery. The circular directs 51 private unaided schools "to reserve at least two seats for the 'children with special needs' (CWSN) in their schools in nursery class for the academic year 2014-15".

To access the DoE Notification dated 19.5.2014, click here.  (The notification, the list of schools & the high order though is not accessible to the persons with visual impairment and is a very dim copy.... thanks to lack of sensitization in the DoE). This notification has come after the petitioner-representing a group of parents with disabled children-filed a contempt suit and over a month after the court first ordered DoE to keep seats vacant for this group on February 27.

The circular is not only for the 15 schools mentioned by the high court on May 15, but also says, "other schools as mentioned by the petitioner in the writ petition are also directed to reserve the same number of seats" for the group.

The petitioner had furnished the court a list of 44 schools that had, till the previous academic year, allocated points in the 100-points system to disabled children. On April 11, DoE ordered inspection of these schools to take stock of existing facilities and on May 7 told the court that 18 had facilities, 18 didn't, and another eight couldn't be inspected. The same day, the petitioner submitted another list of seven schools that had offered similar points in the previous session.

The court had asked DoE to direct 15 (the eight uninspected and the seven newly-submitted) schools to reserve seats for the group. On being summoned, the representatives of the 18 schools without facilities also appeared in court on May 20 and will have to return with their replies on May 28.

DoE on Tuesday listed 51 schools -with and without facilities, the eight uninspected and the seven introduced later. On May 7, the court, "considering the fact that finalization of the admission process is imminent in the view of the orders of the Supreme court," directed DoE to issue a circular "within 24 hours from today (May 7)." When DoE didn't, the petitioner filed a contempt suit. The principal secretary (education) had appeared in court on May 16. DoE, however, remains under contempt till next hearing.

Cardiologist Amita Garg, who initiated litigation in the matter, is disappointed that DoE has taken so long. "This is just the start for us," she says. "We'll have to now approach schools afresh."

When the points system was fixed for all this year, no separate category was created for the disabled candidates. Under Right to Education Act, the disabled kids, coming under the 'disadvantaged categories', are eligible to apply for the 25% free-ship quota.

However, there's just one draw per school for it and the number of EWS (economically weaker section) applications is so overwhelmingly large, the disabled group has found itself out of the race altogether.

Source: Times of India  

Friday, April 4, 2014

Child with special needs distinct from disadvantage group under RTE

Dear Colleagues,

Please refer to my earlier blog post dated 26 Feb 2014 titled  "Disability angle in Nursery admission norms - HC issues notice to centre".

In the instant case, a parent of a child with disability challenged the inclusion of child with disability under the 25% quota of disadvantaged section which meant that there were to compete with non-disabled children from weaker sections within that 25%.  He argued that he got his ward admitted with great difficulty to a Delhi school last year. The child could not progress and was neglected on account of lack of proper attention and infrastructure.

He further submitted that the number of schools equipped with infrastructure and personnel to handle these students were very few. The nature of the guidelines is such that these children have very little chances of getting admission in these institutions.

The Division Bench of Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice R.V. Easwar of Delhi High Court 
directed the Union and Delhi Governments to treat “children with special needs” (CWSN) separate from those belonging to the economically weaker sections (EWS) and the disadvantaged group for admissions in pre-primary and other classes while hearing the above public interest litigation challenging an amendment to the Right to Education Act and a paragraph of the Delhi Government guidelines for nursery admissions that clubbed these students with those belonging to economically sections and the disadvantaged group.

Allowing the plea, the Bench said: “This Court is therefore of the opinion that the petitioner’s argument is merited and has to prevail. First, the imperative of Section 26 [of The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995] is that the Government has to ensure that all CWSN are given access to education till age 18.”

The Court held that the right to free, compulsory education to CWSN guaranteed by Section 26 of the PWD Act read with Section 3 (3) of the RTE Act is in no manner affected or diluted by the definition in Section 2 (d) of the RTE Act. This would mean that the State necessarily has to ensure the admission of all CWSN and can not limit them in 25% quota.

The court said that a close analysis of the provisions of the PWD  Act with respect to educational rights of CWSN reveals that the Parliament always intended that the children covered by  that enactment were entitled to free and compulsory education till they attain the age of 18 years, by virtue of Section 26. The wide nature of this right is underlined by the fact that it is not subject to a minimum or maximum quota of any kind whatsoever. Whilst the addressee of this right is the State, unlike the RTE Act, which vests rights in individuals, the content of the obligation upon the State cannot, in any way, be diluted. Any such reading would render Section 26 hollow, as mere rhetoric. This is neither the meaning that appears from the text of Section 26, which is clear and without qualification in its mandate to “ensure that every child with a disability has access to free education”, nor its context to ensure the inclusion of CWSN into society through education. In addition, Section 39 – which is located in Chapter VI – and mandates a minimum 3% quota for “persons with disabilities” in government and government-aided educational institutions cannot in any manner be read as limiting the right under Section 26. To hold that Section 39 exhausts the legal obligation under Section 26 would be to conflate two independent sections, and render the latter hollow. Such an interpretation cannot be countenanced. Rather, Section 39 is only one of the measures that contributes to the broader directive of Section 26, leaving the State to work out other mechanisms to achieve the stated and mandatory end. 

Court further clarified that Section 39, in essence, covers higher education, in respect of persons with disabilities who cannot claim right to free and compulsory education. In those institutions that cater to higher and professional education, the quota of 3% is mandated.

The court said that bracketing CWSN with other ‘disadvantaged groups’ – under the terms of the 2013 order – substantially diminishes their relative chances of admission. This relative disadvantage compared to other non-disabled persons, which is the very issue sought to be remedied, is in fact perpetuated by this classification. Thus, granting parity in respect of educational benefits in this case translates to a distinct classification.

The court highlighted that in order for the education of CWSN to be effective, rather than merely counting attendance, the infrastructure and facilities in these schools must match-up to their intake. Clearly, that is not the case, even by the figures provided by the GNCT itself. The quality of  education provided to these children comes into doubt, and absent any clear reporting mechanism, the issue is plunged into further darkness. This is keeping aside the fact that even considering the number of students enrolled (on paper), a majority are still excluded and are not enrolled even on paper.

Referring to the census 2011 figures and the number of CWSN admitted in the govt. aided or run special schools, the court said, "the magnitude of the challenge becomes clear from these figures. Not only are our public institutions unable to cater to CWSN because of lack of adequate infrastructure, but moreover, there remains incoherence in the reporting itself. Despite the clear mandate of Section 26, not only can it not be said that all CWSN have access to education, but rather, a majority of CWSN are not in school, and even this fact cannot be attributed to exact figures, given the absence of a comprehensive and accurate reporting mechanism. The entire challenge is thus relegated to the background, without any attempt to measure the statistics comprehensively, in order to pave the path forward.

The Court directed the Delhi Government to “create a list of all public and private educational institutions catering to CWSN. This list shall be created zone wise. It shall include full details as to the nature of disability the institutions are able to cater to, the facilities available, whether residential or day-boarding, and the contact details for the concerned authority in that institution in case of any clarifications”.


The Court also directed it to create a nodal agency under the authority of the Department of Education (DoE) for the processing of all applications pertaining to admission of CWSN.

“This nodal agency shall structure a single form to be utilised by parents and guardians of CWSN for admissions into public and private institutions, including all relevant details required for the purposes of admission,” the Bench said.


The court purposefully  did not dispose off the case. The case has been kept pending for Action taken report from the Delhi Govt. within four weeks. The matter will be next listed on 07th May 2014. 


Related news coverage in media: 

IANS  |  New Delhi  April 3, 2014 Last Updated at 23:06 IST

The Delhi High Court Thursday directed the city government to ensure that all children with special needs in the capital are admitted to schools equipped with infrastructure and personnel to handle them.

A division bench of Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice R.V. Easwar said the authorities have overlooked the needs of such children, and directed the creation of a nodal agency to take care of the modalities for selecting schools equipped to handle disabilities - whether blindness, speech impairment, autism etc - as per the child's special requirement.

The current nursery admission guidelines, including the neighbourhood criteria and the point-based admission system, will not be considered while admitting children with special needs, the court said.

The court said the Lt. Governor's admission guidelines was illegal to the extent that it clubbed children with special needs with those from economically weaker sections (EWS)and other disadvantaged groups.

The court was hearing a plea which challenged the guidelines issued Dec 18, 2013 whereby disabled children were clubbed with EWS children in a common 25 percent quota for admission in nursery classes.

Earlier, up to three percent seats for children with special needs were reserved.