In Mumbai the student- teacher ratio has always been a major concern. To understand this disparity, a study by the New Horizons’ Institute (NHI) for Child Development in Mumbai tried to explore the student-teacher ratios in case of children with special needs.
The results state the gap between children and teachers is huge. In fact, a teacher normally handles a class of 258 children, but the number of students is higher in case of children with special needs. To bridge this gap, NHI has now collaborated with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to facilitate remedial (special) education.
“Disability is a condition which only exists in the mind of the person who thinks somebody else is disabled,” is a frequent statement made by Dr Samir Dalwai, founder of New Horizons Institute of education and research.
“India needs special educators with a firm grounding in neurodevelopmental sciences. It is vital for the educator to know the science behind the intervention as well as the overall programme for the child,” said Dr Dalwai. 75 professionals have completed the course offered by NHI since its inception in 2014.
NHI is a community based rehabilitation model that aims to bridge the gap between the demand for special education and the numbers of available professionals. “There is an urgent need of ‘task-shifting’ i.e. training and capacity building of professionals to become practising special educators” said Deepti Kanade-Modak, in-charge at NHI.
“An inclusive education system is beneficial for all children, including children with diverse learning needs as every child receives an opportunity to learn from another. It is important to have trained rehabilitation professionals and educators to support children to learn, participate and succeed in academic activities as per their potential,” said Nita Mehta, academic head at NHI.
“We have had trainees from Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Delhi, and Chandigarh. Thus, they have taken the knowledge back to their local communities. NHI also conducts Teacher Development Programs on ‘Classroom Intervention for Inclusive Education’ for the management team and teaching staff of schools for underserved children,” added Dr Dalwai.