In Pakistan there are more than 10 million special persons, according to the Lahore Association of Businessmen for the Rehabilitation of Disabled (2012). Out of these differently-abled people, many are youth, teenagers and children.
These special persons’ education is very important to make them self-reliant, so that they can contribute to the national growth, otherwise they will remain a burden on their families and the country. Therefore, schools, educational and training institutes for such differently-abled people are very important.
In my district, Dera Ghazi Khan there are five Special education schools (Deaf and hearing impaired school, slow learner impaired school, mentally retarded children school, visually impaired school and Physical disable children school. These all schools are in the same building. Five institutes in this complex having individual headmasters. Headmaster of slow learner school Mr..MubashirAhmed told The Educationist that the teaching staff was selected through Punjab Public Service Commission. In total there are 22 schools in Dera Ghazi Khan Division including seven schools in Dera Ghazi Khan District, five in Dera Ghazi Khan City, one each in Kot Chutta and in Tanusa. The total strength of students in these 22 schools is 2300. These schools provides each student three uniforms, two pair of shoes each year and Rs800 stipend per month. Transport plus hostel facilities are also provided. Sufficient budget provided by the local government. Headmaster of Deaf and Hearing school Mr. Shahid Nawaz said the result of special education schools was 100%, which is remarkable.
“All is good in the special education schools in Dera Ghazi Khan, good teachers, better environment, nice location, each school has their separate building in same place except one school that is physically disable school: he said. They have no separate building and share space in the department with other schools on first floor that makes difficult for disabled students to go daily on first floor to attend their classes.
There is no special persons’ university in the country, the government needs to open at least one university in the country. The Government is sending people abroad for better education, why not government announce separate scholarships for special children. We need to think about it right now because this right. Hope our CM Shahbaz Sharif will take an initiative regarding this issue.
There is serious demand of the Physically Disabled Children School, which also needed a playground to promote healthy activities. They have demanded the local government as well as the provincial government to take steps immediately for these disable.
There is also issue of jobs after completion of their education. They have no proper jobs in the government sector and other private sectors of Pakistan. The Government has allocated a 3 % job quota for special persons, which mostly 90% filled by Blind people because blind people have their strong monopoly and have unions, the blind people also did protest demonstration in Lahore recently so due to their pressure thegovernment give most jobs to them out of the total 3% job quota, which is injustice with other special people. The government should increase the 3% quota to 5 % at least and assign 1% each category of special children’s.
Another important issue parents of special children are not very much aware of their child’s needs and wants, as they get confused what to do, how to handle them. I recently listened to a group of such parents who shared their pain and frustration. I could get knowledge of some common issues being expressed repeatedly: the need for parental support systems. In reality in many situations nothing really works to resolve the challenges because of lack of social opportunities for their children and fears about their future.
Each special child is so special not because of their disability but because of their creativity and uniqueness. The most creative, the best mannered, the most beautiful Childs I ever meet in my whole life, who wants just recognition from the society and respect from us as a human, they need equality. Why would we waste them? The Government of Punjab is known for its educational reforms, but that only for those groups who are blessed with everything. It has perhaps neglected the important part of the society – the special Children who are really so specials and need to be treated specially.
There is no special person’s university in the country, the government needs to open at least one university in the country. The Government is sending people abroad for better education, why not government announce separate scholarships for special children. We need to think about it right now because this right. Hope our CM Shahbaz Sharif will take an initiative regarding this issue.
(The writer is Media scholar and The Educationist DG Khan Bureau Chief. He can be reached at email@example.com)