"Hire special educators or face derecognition"

Delhi high courts sets March 31, 2013 as the deadline for all recognised aided and unaided private schools to appoint special educators

jasleen

Jasleen Kaur | September 24, 2012



All recognised aided and unaided private schools in Delhi must appoint special educators for children with special needs by March 31, 2013, else they will face derecognition. The Delhi high court said schools must make their buildings/school premises barrier-free to allow free movement/access to such children.

A division bench comprising acting chief justices AK Sikri and Rajiv Sahai Endlaw directed all private unaided schools in the capital to hire two qualified special educators as per the mandate of the Right to Education Act (RTE).

The bench made it clear that special educators are required not just in government-run or aided schools but also in private schools as they too enroll students with special needs. The HC was hearing a plea by civil rights organisation Social Jurist which sought to extend appointment of special educators to private schools.

The court has directed the directorate of education (DoE), Delhi government to ensure schools to comply with the directions and to take action for derecognition against the erring schools.

The court said it has granted the said time considering the fact that Section 19 of the RTE Act has given time of three years from April 1, 2010. The court has granted two year’s time to appoint special educators. However, schools where children with special needs are already admitted must immediately make provision for special educators.

The court has directed schools to not to refuse admission to children with disability for the reason of not employing special educators or not providing barrier-free access in the school premises.

The court has already directed the government schools to appoint special educators in 2009. It reiterated the ruling earlier this year while hearing a contempt plea against the government for its failure to fill up vacancies for special educators.

The PIL, filed by senior advocate Ashok Agarwal, highlighted that 2,039 unaided recognised private schools and 258 aided recognised private schools in the national capital lack basic physical and academic facility for children with special needs. Also, there are over two lakh children with disabilities in the national capital, of whom less than 1 percent are in schools.
 

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