Showing posts with label differently abled children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label differently abled children. Show all posts

Friday, January 29, 2016

Despite a good progress 34% Indian children with disabilities (6-14 yrs) are still out of school : UN Report

In India, high percentage of kids with disabilities still out of school: UN

United Nations: India has been able to decrease its number of out-of-school children by nearly 16 million between 2000 and 2012, driving the progress in South Asia, but it still has 1.4 million children not attending primary school, a United Nations report said.

The majority, 31 million of the 58 million out-of-school children, were girls. India has 58.81 million girls and 63.71 million boys of primary school age. As of 2011, 1.4 million children of primary school age did not go to school in India, with 18 percent girls out of school and 14 percent boys.

The report said that while India has made significant improvement in primary education enrolment, the figures for children with disabilities are staggering. Out of 2.9 million children with disabilities in India, 990,000 children aged 6 to 14 years (34 percent) are out of school.

The percentages are even higher among children with intellectual disabilities (48 percent), speech impairments (36 percent) and multiple disabilities (59 percent).

"India has made tremendous efforts to make its education system more inclusive. Under the Right to Education Act, all children have the right to go to school...To accommodate a greater number of children with disabilities, further progress is needed," it said.

The biggest decrease in the number of out-of-school children was seen in South Asia, where their numbers fell by 23 million between 2000 and 2012, according to a new joint report 'Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All: Findings from the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children was produced by UNESCO and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF)'.

Much of the global progress since 2000 in decreasing the number of out-of-school children has been driven by a small number of countries, with India alone decreasing its number of out-of-school children by nearly 16 million between 2000 and 2011.

In relative terms, 42 countries were able to more than halve their numbers of primary out-of-school children between 2000 and 2012, including Algeria, Burundi, Cambodia, Ghana, India, Iran, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Viet Nam, Yemen and Zambia.

However, despite such impressive progress in many countries, about nine percent of all children of primary school age worldwide, which accounts for eight percent of all boys and 10 percent of all girls, were still out of school in 2012.

The other countries with more than half a million out-of-school children include Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sudan. India had 14 percent of children in the 7-14 years age category involved in child labour.

The report credited initiatives such as abolition of school fees, cash transfer programmes and school feeding programmes in ensuring more children attend and stay in school.

The largest school feeding was implemented in India with 120 million school children benefiting by 2006 and has been credited with a significant positive effect on both school enrolment and attendance rates.

The report further said that one in five adolescents worldwide is not in school, which means that some 63 million young people between the ages of 12 and 15 are denied their right to an education, mainly because they are marginalized and poor, the joint UN agency report said as pressure mounts to include universal secondary education in the post-2015 global development agenda.

"This report serves as wake-up call to mobilize the resources needed to guarantee basic education for every child, once and for all," UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said.

The data found that as children get older, the risk that they will never start school or will drop out increases. One in ten children of primary school age is out of school compared to one in five adolescents. The study also found that in total, 121 million children and adolescents have either never started school or dropped out despite the international community's promise to achieve Education for All by 2015.

The report added that "business as usual" has not worked and there has been almost no progress in reducing the number of adolescents out of school since 2007. Children living in conflict, child labourers and those facing discrimination are most affected. And without major shifts in policies and resources, previous education gains may erode.

"If current trends continue, 25 million children, 15 million girls and 10 million boys, are likely to never set foot inside a classroom," it said. For a concrete policy shift, the study calls on governments to provide robust information on marginalised children.

Source: PTI

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Goa Board to offer Custom Syllabus for Students with Disabilities

Gauree Malkarnekar,TNN | Mar 6, 2014, 02.11 AM IST

PANAJI: Children with special needs will now have their syllabus from Class IX to XII modified to their individual needs if they find it difficult to cope with the curriculum in force. The academic council of the Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education has approved an improvised scheme for special children to be implemented for 2014-15.

Under the modified scheme, once a child is certified for a disability, the institution along with the child, will have to decide if he or she is capable of taking up one of the existing courses of study offered by the board or if a new course based on the primary structure of the syllabus will have to be framed by bodies of the board to meet the individual student's need.

"If a particular student is unable to sit in the classroom because of his or her disability or there are other such issues, a separate syllabus can be framed under the new scheme to meet the child's individual needs. The benefits of this revised scheme have now also been extended to higher secondary students," Goa Board chairperson Jose Remedios Rebello said.

The Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) will include a description of the individualized curriculum for academics and skills, specific objectives, teaching learning strategies and assessment procedures.

The revised Goa Board scheme lays more stress on assimilating children with special needs with regular school students.

"High school teachers of regular schools are already being trained under the Central government's Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) to sensitize them to recognize the needs of special children in a regular class. Goa Board's modified scheme will require regular teacher training programmes to include at least one module on types and characteristics of disabilities and observation of these characteristics in students. Training programmes will be organized for existing teachers," Rebello said.

The revised scheme requires that special children too be assessed through continuous evaluation and the format for it will be drawn by the board of studies.

The board will also certify special children answering the Class X and XII public exams differently stating their level of disability, the subjects selected, the mode of assessment and the level of performance (preferably through grading).

Students with disabilities will be provided with some general concessions like decreasing their writing load by setting objective type questions, allowing verbal responses for children with writing difficulties, overlooking directional mistakes in maps in geography, awarding marks for the method employed in mathematics, pardoning the errors in calculation arising out of writing numbers in the wrong order, evaluating the content of answer rather than the syntax or structure and spelling errors and allowing point-form writing etc.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IRDA proposes life insurance cover for persons with disabilities

Dear Friends,

After the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi's judgement in a related matter on Insurance (Refer my blog entry titled "Extra Premium for Insurance or Reduced Insurance amount- both are discriminatory against the employees with disabilities), wherein the Hon’ble court agreed that charging extra premium from employees with disabilities was indeed a discrimination on the basis of disability and therefore it directed the postal life insurance to provide equal insurance coverage and not charge extra premium from the employees with disabilities, the regulator IRDA is working on a proposal for life to cover the persons with disabilities.

However, what I see from the proposal, certain categories of disabilities, particularly that are not static and likely to change, say for example a person with mental illness (under rehabilitation), or a person with low vision - likely to turn completely blind, will continue to face discrimination.

The problem is the actuaries are not trained in to this aspect of disability and the potential of persons with disabilities. Life can be uncertain for you and me alike irrespective of disabilities, but actuaries tend to presume that a person with disability is more likely to die in comparison to non-disabled is actually a myth.

I had indicated the road ahead in the earlier post after the Court judgement which I am reproducing here:

The Road Ahead
I see this judgment  as a milestone in the disability rights movement with far reaching implications not only in India but also beyond India and especially in European countries where the Actuaries continue to discriminate against persons with disabilities by under-valuing their lives. However, India, its Courts and the persons with disabilities are very progressive on this front and the western countries can follow suit at least on this count.
This is just a beginning. We need a well devised future strategy  to dismantle the entire regime of discrimination that is prevailing in the insurance sector and the immediate challenges are:
(a) The insurance sector still discriminates on the basis of etiology of the disability i.e. from birth and after birth; neurological or physical and rates their lives accordingly which has again no scientific base.
(b) The persons with neurological disabilities are still not allowed any insurance policy and needs to be challenged.
(c) PLI is an insurance scheme for the benefit of government employees hence it will cover a very small section of citizens with disabilities. Those who are outside the government jobs especially those in rural areas are far away from reaping the benefits of insurance.
(d) The Actuaries who are in the business of assessing the life risks are not aware of the real challenges and the lives of the persons with disabilities and they continue to live in their own world and decide on their own whims, the risk calculation of the life of a person with disabilities. They need to be sensitized and made aware.
(e) The entire literature on insurance that I had to read while pursuing this case from outside reinforced the stereotypes about persons with disability and their proneness to accident. Hence, we need new literature for future actuaries to understand that Disability can not be treated always as a negative health profile. And that living with disability was distinct from suffering from a life threatening disease.
(f) There is a need to raise awareness that a person with visual impairment or with hearing impairment or with neurological impairment also enjoys good health like anybody else.
(g) The rules of Insurance sector needs to be changed in light of this judgement and applied across the sector. All insurance  issuing companies - be it private or government have to factor in the principals of this judgement and make amends.
(h) We need to take this awareness to the most marginalized persons with disabilities in rural areas through several means. 

I am sure we all are up for it and would take this to its logical end. Here is  news coverage regarding the IRDA proposal from Business Standard:-

Currently, there are no definitive guidelines defining the cover for people with disability
M Saraswathy  |  Mumbai  January 4, 2014 Last Updated at 00:32 IST

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) is looking to bring out a proposal for providing life insurance cover for the differently abled. While disability is not explicitly excluded from life insurance policies, there are no definitive guidelines defining the cover for such individuals.

“The proposal is at a discussion stage at the actuarial department. We will soon bring out a discussion paper on this,” said a senior IRDA official. This proposal will first be presented as a paper to life insurers for their feedback and then, detailed guidelines would be formulated.

At present, disability insurance is provided under personal accident policies by general insurance companies. Here, the policy provides for income replacement if the policyholder gets physically injured in any accident leading to loss of income for the family.  Disability is also covered by life insurance companies, wherein a cover is provided for accidental disability. These products are offered both, as a policy and as a rider with an insurance plan. If anything happens to the insured during the policy tenure, the insurance company pays him/her a lump-sum amount. However, this does not provide any protection for disabilities existing from one's birth or early childhood.

Insurance sector officials said that there, the regulator would clearly define what is disability, the types of disability-permanent or ongoing. The various ailments are also expected to be classified either as static and permanent, which would include polio and physical disability like loss of sight at birth, loss of hand/leg at birth among others. Other types of ongoing ailments like severe Hepatitis B, cancer of the last stages and severe damage to the lungs or heart would be put into a separate category.

“While permanent and static disability is expected to be included as the category that would be covered by life insurance, progressive and critical stages of ailments are likely to be excluded from coverage. This is because such ailments are very risky to be covered, from an insurance perspective,” said a senior life insurance official.

Officials close to this development said that at a future stage, when there is adequate data and research on these ailments, such patients could be provided life insurance cover, albeit at a higher premium.

Not all types of cancer are excluded from life insurance coverage. While patients in the last stages of such life-threatening diseases are excluded from life insurance coverage, others at an early stage are not denied a cover. These patients usually pay 30-40 per cent higher premium than regular policyholders, due to the higher risk involved in their coverage.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Kolkata Teachers believe children with disabilities are careless, insincere, doubtful and rigid!

Teachers prejudiced against disabled kids, says Indian Statistical Institute study

Jayanta Gupta, TNN Oct 1, 2013, 04.35AM IST

KOLKATA: A study conducted among teachers in government- and government-aided schools in the city has revealed that most of them are prejudiced against pupils with disabilities.

According to the study, conducted by the Psychology Research Unit of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), a large number of teachers believe that children with disabilities are "careless", "insincere", "doubtful" and "rigid". So much for the government's initiative to promote inclusive education. A study conducted by the Psychology Research Unit of Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in government and government-aided schools in Kolkata has revealed that a large number of teachers consider differently-abled children to be careless, insincere, doubtful and rigid.

The same teachers believe that children without special needs are "systematic", "confident", "sincere" and "responsive".

The research paper was presented at the Indian Science Congress with a view to impress upon the state government that our schools may still not be ready for inclusive education, which the government is trying to promote.

The study revealed some startling facts. "The most negative attitude towards children with disabililies was expressed by young teachers; those with postgraduate degrees; and those from high socio-economic backgrounds. Many of those who held this attitude have people with disabilities at home," said Sumana Dutta, a research scholar at ISI .

The institute collaborated with Bikashayan, an NGO, in carrying out the study.

To gauge the attitude of 1,472 teachers in Kolkata, researchers used what is known as a semantic differential scale. "In a semantic differential scale, respondents are asked to choose where his or her position lies, on a scale between two bipolar adjectives. This scale is used to measure opinions, attitudes and values," explained Dr Debdulal Dutta Roy, assistant professor of the Psychology Research Unit. In this case, some of the pairs of bipolar adjectives used were "careless and systematic", "insincere and sincere", "doubtful and confident" and "rigid and responsive". The questionnaire with 20 such bipolar adjectives was filled in by teachers, parents and administrative staff.

A complex statistical method known as "Principal Component Analysis with Varimax Rotation" was used to arrive at the results.

"We surveyed 1,829 people in all. While 1,472 were teachers, there were 262 parents and the remaining administrative staff. We noticed that the teachers had the most negative attitude. Teachers from north Kolkata had the worst attitude followed by those in the south and west," Dutta added.

According to Dutta Roy, who monitored the process, it was a surprise that some teachers who have children with disabilities also display this attitude. "This reveals that the teachers are not considering the limitations of a child with disabilities," said the executive council member of the International Association for Analytical Psychology. "The second part of the study revealed that most schools (government- and government-aided) don't have the infrastructure required for inclusive education. There is clearly a need for remedial teaching and psycho-educational teaching if inclusive education has to be successful. Maybe the teachers will need more training. For the moment, though, special schools can't be done away with."

In the second part of the survey, 293 schools were surveyed. It was found that 42% of these schools don't have their own drinking water facility. Resource rooms - remedial classrooms where students with special needs are given specialized assistanceare - absent in 95% of these schools. It was also found that 98% schools have no resource teachers.

"Though 98% schools consider a resource person beneficial, in more than 44% schools, such teachers pay just a single visit in a month. In 53% schools, the visit is just for an hour. More than 85% schools have untrained teachers. If there is a problem, how will these teachers react? The problem lies with the non-manipulative nature of our pedagogy. Things will have to be more manipulative if children are to receive proper education," Dutta Roy added.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Special Financial Planning for your child with disability


I came across this informative peace, though not complete in many respects. This is based on the information and law that exist today and doesn't suggest or foresee the circumstances in the coming days looking at the major developments in the sector, particularly, the Delhi High Court ruling that calls for equal benefits in Post Life insurance to the disabled employees; the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2012 awaiting introduction in the parliament and the supported decision making in place of full /limited guardianship. Nevertheless, this may help many. Here it goes.

A differently abled child needs special financial planning for a secure future

Vidyalaxmi, ET Bureau | Nov 14, 2012, 09.08 AM IST

NEW DELHI: Every child is special; and differently abled children are even more special. In normal circumstances, the biggest worry for most parents is high education expenses. However, in case of special children, the worries extend beyond that. Parents of such children have to plan for extra medical expenses and for expenses much beyond college. In some cases, even for their lifetime. The parents also need to put in place a system where there is someone who takes care of the child when they are no more and the benefits should keep coming to the child.

"When it comes to a special child, financial planning involves two stages. The first stage is financially providing for the life during the parents' lifetime. In the second stage, one has to build a mechanism through which the child continues to meet his/her financial needs after the parent's lifetime," says Mukund Seshadri, certified financial planner & partner, MS Ventures Financial Planners. On children's day, it is time to make a beginning and build a meaningful corpus for your special child. One can consider the following points while drawing up a financial plan.

Legal guardian after 18 years

In a regular case, parents' responsibility could be for a limited period. However, in case of a special child, the timeframe could depend on the severity of disability. In some cases it could extend for a very long time. "These children go to special school and could need extra health care expenses. You are natural guardian to your children only until they are 18 years; but once their status changes from 'minor' to 'major', you need to take legal guardianship from court for your special child," says Pankaj Mathpal, certified financial planner and managing director, Optima Money Managers. "Parents can take the legal guardianship themselves or appoint a sibling or somebody else as guardian to the child."

Allocate more to equities

"In case of a special child, you may have to provide for income for the entire life. This is very difficult to calculate," says Kartik Jhaveri, certified financial planner, Transcend India. Even if the child could eventually generate income based on his abilities and skill sets, retirement planning should be done in a manner that the child has sufficient means of income through alternative sources. The investment plan will vary from family to family based on their financial realities. Asset allocation is the key and knowing the kind of corpus and returns that you would need for your goals is paramount, according to experts. "As a general rule, a portion of the portfolio should be allocated to equities and this portion could be higher considering the time horizon in such cases (for retirement goal: parents as well as child's ) is more than 30-plus years. Parents should also have exposure to real estate (not as an investment, but as a residence), which can come in handy to the child," Jhaveri adds.

Buy a high sum assured term plan

This is a must, especially for parents who don't hold any assets. "Parents should consider buying a high sum assured term plan, which will factor in the uncertainty risk if something were to happen to the parents. Today' term plans are very reasonably priced and affordable," says Seshadri. "Parents should choose the child as a beneficiary and can nominate some trustworthy individual to ensure that the beneficiary gets his/her share of proceeds after the parent's death."

Create a trust

Another way is to create a non-revocable trust and appointing trusties. Creating a trust comes with its own set of challenges such as setting up the trust, registering a PAN Card, defining the functions of the trust, choosing the trustees etc. You can form a trust any time. The first step is to frame a trust deed with legal help. The trust deed defines the objective of the trust, includes the names of trustee members, powers and rules and regulations pertaining to its functioning. The key is to appoint trustee members who are younger to the parents.

This may take care of the possibility of the trustee's death before the parents'. "Closest family members are the preferred choice for trustees. In absence of that, you can take help of some NGOs or The National Trust," says Mathpal. The National Trust is an autonomous organisation of the ministry of social justice and empowerment, Government of India, set up under the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act (Act 44 of 1999). If you plan to set up a trust, financial advisors expect the initial costs to be around Rs 30,000 in metros and Rs 20,000 in smaller towns. "If parents have a trustworthy relative in a sibling or an uncle/aunt, it is any day easier to create a will. The process of setting up a will and its execution is far simpler and affordable for most individuals," says Seshadri.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Inclusive parks/playgrounds of Kilikili get UNESCO pat

Dear colleagues, 

The efforts of Bangalore based Kilikili - an organisation initiated by Ms. Kavita Krishnamoorthy, a special educator and architect, have found pat from none other than UNESCO. Here is the news report from DNA.

Published: Friday, Mar 2, 2012, 11:54 IST 
By Subir Ghosh | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

When a group of parents with differently abled children came together in 2005 to lobby for parks and playgrounds in the city be made accessible to such children, they faced an uphill task.

They were not sure if the move would work. But some six years later, the initiative is being lauded by UNESCO as a success story, that can be emulated the world over.

The initiative in question is Kilikili, a Bangalore-based trust that was set up to create inclusive neighbourhood play spaces for all children, regardless of their abilities, and to involve children in the design process. The Kilikili case study finds place in UNESCO’s ‘The State of the World’s Children 2012’ report that was published on Wednesday. This year’s annual report focuses on making cities fit for children.

Former Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner K Jairaj bought the idea that came in the form of a visually attractive proposal from Kavita Krishnamoorthy, the managing trustee of Kilikili. The pitch was drafted by a core group comprising Krishnamoorthy, an architect and a special educator, that was formed after an initial round of consultations with parents, schools, and of course the children.

The first project, that sought to make parks and playgrounds disabled-friendly, was set up in Coles Park. The success of the project prompted the BMPP and Kilikili to replicate the idea at 
MN Krishna Rao Park in Basavangudi and Gayatri Devi Park in Rajajinagar.

Krishamoorthy remains unassuming about the Unesco mention, and talks of the tasks ahead. Her organisation, which runs with only two part-time employees, has pitched ideas for similar projects in Jayanagar, Jeevan Bima Nagar and Whitefield. “We are pursuing the BBMP to implement the projects, but these things eventually take up a lot of time to bear fruit.”

The BBMP bears all the costs to make the parks friendly for children with special needs. Kilikili, for its part, networks with parents, schools and volunteers, and works towards developing a community around a project area.

Once the BBMP’s part is done, it is this community that takes over. “Parents of children with special needs usually don’t want to come alone,” says Krishnamoorthy. But the support that the Kilikili initiative elicited, particularly from the residents of these areas, has possibly kept her going. Kilikili is hardly an organisation — it is a network.

What bothered Krishnamoorthy initially was about the invisibility of children with disabilities from the mainstream. Her project, therefore, works on inclusion. Besides the weekly trips to parks that are organised by the schools, Kilikili holds events in these parks every three months, where all children participate. ‘Normal’ children get the chance to interact and play with those with special needs.

During initial consultations that the core group held in 2005, one of the refrains that had cropped up frequently was “other children don’t talk to us since they don’t understand us.” These events seek to sink the differences.

All, however, is not hunky dory. Lack of maintenance work by the BBMP at Coles Park has forced parents and schools to stop bringing the children here. It has been almost a year now, and Krishnamoorthy rues that the “work indeed progresses very slowly.” For instance, the ramp at one of the gates still exists, but the railing has fallen off.Repeated complaints have fallen on deaf ears. The ball is definitely in the court of BBMP. Its role in the project too has been lauded in the Unesco report.

The two other projects, however, have been very successful. Last year, close to 2,000 children had visited the two parks.

Krishnamoorthy understands the need of children. She was herself the mother of athree-year-old boy with special needs when a casual remark by her husband about lack of adequate facilities at a park had set her thinking.

Six years later, she and her colleagues are working on a technical manual that would help the BBMP design parks and playgrounds that address crucial needs of children with special needs.