In Pune, schools for special needs children are seeking a new education policy framework, which allows them to resume offline teaching which has been upended by the global coronavirus pandemic. Founders of several autism centers across the city have sought permission from the state government to conduct offline schooling with limited children in the classroom.
The pandemic forced the entire education system to shift its focus from offline teaching to online classes in the last year and a half. While this shift was difficult for both the students and faculty alike, it has been especially difficult for children with special needs.
They have also pointed out that proper offline classes are akin to therapy for children with special needs. These children greatly benefit from in-person interactions with their teachers and online education is hampering their growth and development. All this is also making it extremely difficult for the parents to handle the behavioral issues and accompanying frustrations that the last 17 months have caused.
The state education department, however, is yet to decide on the matter. In the meantime, the State Council of Educational Research & Training (SCERT) has developed special online course material and is helping the parents conduct special activities for their children at home. This course material has been provided to different NGOs and schools as well.
Speaking of the special online course material, Dr. Kamaladevi Awate, Deputy Director, SCERT told the Hindustan Times, “Our officials have conducted meetings with the parents to inform them about special activities that are necessary for these students to carry out so that they can conduct such activities at home.”