Scholarship Hike For Special Children: #Maha Govt. Finally Wakes Up

Maharashtra Govt. has finally woken up to the needs of the specially-abled and announced an education scholarship hike for them.

After a decade-long slumber, Maharashtra Govt. has taken the much-awaited step of raising the scholarship bar for the differently-abled students.

The move has been triggered after students and teachers alike have protested and held demonstrations against the inactive and unresponsive attitude of the government.

The decade-long fight for the betterment of education facilities for specially-able students has resulted in an increase from Rs. 150 to Rs. 425 and 380 INR – 1,200 INR, based on the kind of disability.

It is certainly a relief to many associations working with such students, activists fighting for the cause and the students themselves that the government has cared to notice their plight and brought their scholarship amount at par with that of the other backward classes. (OBCs)

While earlier the education scholarship amount was something between Rs. 50 and Rs.425, now the visually impaired, the students with hearing and learning disabilities and speech difficulties who appear for the scholarship exam every year can aim to bag about 1, 200 rupees.

Though the differently-abled students have now got some attention from the government regarding their scholarship amount, many other factors need to be taken into account for improving their educational needs. Much still needs to be done in relation to the teaching aids, Braille books or interpreters and people who know sign language for the speech and hearing impaired students. There is a paucity of trained teachers who can deal with the regular problems these children face and lack of better infrastructure and environment for the convenience of children using wheelchairs or other such aids.

While the latest move by the government fosters better education for the special children, it also diverts attention to the attitude of other students and school authorities towards them, which is unfriendly and narrow-minded. The government’s allotment of 3% of government sector jobs for the differently-abled people has also not helped much and will not be a success until better infrastructure and appropriate facilities are provided to them in the workplace.  

Where, on the one hand, campaigns are being launched by private foundations for building up more awareness and training individuals with disabilities to be able to adapt to the work environment, Pratap Lubal, upper secretary, social justice and special assistance department commented on the delay in sanctioning scholarship hike saying, “The issue was pending for long with the department because we were working on the break-up of each category of students. Our aim was to do justice to all by sanctioning a respectable sum”, as reported to The Times of India.

It is although a matter of doubt as to whether the ‘respectable sum’ that is assured after all these years will suffice the educational needs of these children.

Till the time people with disabilities are subjected to numerous discriminatory methods and a social stigma is attached to them, we cannot boast of equal treatment meted out to all, especially in the education field.

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