Training special educators

Print edition : July 04, 2008

At the speech therapy unit of the Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University.-BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

THE Faculty of Disability Management and Special Education of Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, Perianaickenpalayam, has some of the most exhaustive courses in the area of special education. The courses are designed to train the candidates as special educators who can work with children with visual impairment, hearing impairment, mental disability and locomotor disability.

There are only 180 institutions in the country that train teachers for children with special needs, says M. Chandramani, Honorary Dean of the Faculty. The university offers diploma, bachelors and masters degrees in education, and Ph.D programmes in special educational needs.

The training modules are approved by the Rehabilitation Council of India. The university has sought approval from the National Council of Teacher Education. The course does not narrow down the candidates employment possibilities. They can even find employment in social welfare organisations and become entrepreneurs, too, Chandramani says.

The Faculty has supporting units such as a play therapy centre, a Braille press, a rehabilitation centre, a talking books recording unit, department of prosthetics and orthotics, department of physiotherapy and occupational therapy, a sign language unit and an audiology and speech therapy unit. The units are open to the public. The universitys Braille press supplies books to several institutions all over the country.

Although we get students from across the country, the number of students who apply for B.Ed is not up to our expectations. This is because awareness regarding disability and disability management is still low among the general public, Chandramani says. Candidates who have passed the higher secondary examination are eligible for the diploma course. Those who have a degree in school teaching subjects and those with a postgraduate degree in Commerce and Economics can join the B.Ed course.

The Faculty conducts workshops, seminars, training programmes and orientation camps for doctors, psychologists, physiotherapists, rehabilitation specialists, social workers, parents, students and teachers. It is also planning to organise awareness programmes on disability for the general public.

The university is planning to offer add-on courses in Spoken Hindi, Spoken English and Adapted Physical Education (physical education for children with disability), Chandramani says.

Anasuya Menon
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