The disability among children is a matter of serious concern as it has widespread implications. The census 2011 showed that, in India, 20.24 lakhs children aged 0-6 years are disabled, and the number of disabled population is the highest in the age group 10-19 years-17%(46.2 lakhs). There are many schemes by the government such as Integrated Education for Disabled Children (IEDC), Scheme for Awareness Generation and Publicity, Comprehensive Education Scheme for Disabled Children and several government and non-government organizations such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan(SSA), Sikshit Yuva Sewa Samiti(SYSS), Joyful Inclusion Training Program etc, working towards education and inclusivity of children with disability .
Consider a special school, the teachers, parents and school management can form a Parent-teacher Association to solve a number of issues.
PTA would ensure that all the parents’ and teachers’ grievances are redressed in a timely and appropriate form. Parents who are interested can volunteer and get trained to become special educators in order to help out the students learn at their own pace. Quite often, there are parents who are sending their children to a certain program for the first time eg: Individualized Education Program (IEP). They have a lot of unanswered questions and doubts regarding the program or what they need to do. In such cases, parents of senior students who are already enrolled in the program for a while can be of immense help to reassure the parents, and clear doubts if any. Parents and teachers can plan out events for the students such as art competition, poster-making, singing competition etc. As seen in Taare Zameen Par, differently abled students are often very talented and creative. There could be a wide variety of contests based on what the differently able students are good at-literature, film, singing, photography, painting etc. PTA’s role here is to plan, sponsor and manage the event. A lot of events can be planned exclusively for different students with different disabilities.
- Awareness and Advocacy
Firstly, a lot of awareness about various kinds of disabilities are lacking in the stakeholders. The parents and teachers can conduct awareness workshops by experts and then spread awareness among the students too. Once awareness is created, the focus can be shifted to advocacy. There are various government schemes and policies which could be implied as it is, and then there are a few which require changes. The PTA can hold forum discussions and raise concerns and bring it to the officials’ notice.
- Grants and funds
The PTA can also bring to notice any funds or grants their special school is eligible for. They themselves can raise funds through events and donations. The funds generated can be optimized by designing programs to benefit the students. It could also be utilized to invest in certain infrastructure and tools which makes an impact in the students’ lives.
PTA can prove to be a very useful tool in addressing a lot of the issues faced by the schools in India and across the world today. We, at Socially Good (cloud-based SaaS) believe that we can do our bit too by helping your PTAs manage everything effortlessly-from events, member-management, social activities, parent-support groups, and fundraising. SociallyGood hopes of getting more differently able children educated successfully.