Home in on more kids with learning disabilities in schools : Expert

By: Admin 18 March, 2017

Alarmed by the minuscule number of students with learning disabilities appearing for the class X and XII in CBSE across the country , a city-based psychiatrist has petitioned to the Union ministry of Human Resource Development demanding that the government address the "child rights emergency". 

According to data released by CBSE, less than 0.1% of those who appeared for the exams in 2014 and 2016 were students with learning disabilities. According to the information available on the CBSE website, out of over 10 lakh and 14 lakh students, who appeared for the class X exams in 2014 and 2016, only 816 and 1,306 had learning disabilities. The numbers for class XII have been similar for the two years in question. Psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty , who has written to HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said that the worldwide average of students with learning disability is about 5% to 10%.

Regions such as Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar, Patna and Allahabad have registered less than 10 students with learning disabilities in each of the four exams. The Chennai region, which comprises Mumbai, had only 608 students with le arning disability during the same time. Shetty said, "Due to lack of awareness, students with learning disability are termed lazy and disinterested. Failure to diagnose can cause a lot of trauma as the child is subjected to humiliation. To avoid this, the government must initiate a programme of the scale of the oral polio inoculation programme" he said.

Shetty has demanded that the Centre create a blue print to reach out to all CBSE schools across the country to create awareness and ensure diagnosis. "Continuing with academics without the right diagnosis can be traumatizing for a child. There is an urgent need to create a bank of special educators and mental health professionals to at least ensure that diagnosis is available across the country . This way , we will be able to plan remedial education and other intervention," said Shetty .

He has also demanded that all state boards in the country identify learning disability and provide for necessary help to students and that the CBSE create a database. "When I sought information of students with learning disabilities for 2001 to 2016, the board replied saying the data was not available. I was asked to refer to the data on the CBSE website which had information only for 2014 and 2016," said Shetty


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