Parents of children with special needs continue to go through hard times in getting their kids admitted in private schools of the capital. Education activists and parents alike point out that a majority of the private schools in Delhi lack the required infrastructure to admit children with special needs. However, there are some private schools in the capital that accommodate such students.
Tired of waiting outside a school in Dwarka, a parent requesting anonymity said, “Our child has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Schools can incorporate such students with the help of special educators. They can’t deny admission to special children ever since the Delhi High Court order, but most of the schools keep delaying the admission, in some cases even denying it.”
The Delhi HC had directed the Department of Education (DoE) in November last year to verify facilities available at the city’s private schools for differently-abled children. A common admission form was made available on the DoE’s website for parents of children with special needs (CWSN) in order to simplify the admission process for them. The Delhi HC had directed the schools to take necessary steps to grant admission and convey the result of admissions in writing to both the parents and the department. The order also obligated the schools to state in writing the reasons for not granting admission to a child.
Rajiv Malhotra, desk officer, Commission for Person with disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, who handles public complaints, said, “We don’t receive many complaints, but in some cases, we have taken action. The general complaints against the schools are that the teachers have not been sensitised towards children with special needs or infrastructure-related issues. After our commission intervened in one of the cases, the school was directed to shift a specially-abled child’s class from the third to the first floor.”
Sumit Vohra, a Delhi-based education activist, said, “The majority of schools in Delhi not only lack the infrastructure, but they also lack the volition to develop that infrastructure for special kids. The new schools that have opened in the capital in the past few years are particularly notorious for this. I have heard from parents about schools in Dwarka that are blunt about not admitting specially-abled kids.” Repeated attempts were made to contact two prestigious schools in Dwarka, namely Presidium School and MBS International School, but emails and calls went unanswered.
Ameeta Mulla Wattal, principal, Springdales School, Pusa Road, said, “The Delhi High Court has made it mandatory for schools to reserve 3% seats for admission to specially-abled children. Schools cannot deny admission to children with special needs and if they do, parents can take action against them. This is about integration within private schools to make accommodations for children with special needs, not about developing a separate special school for them within the category of private schools. Springdales School, Pusa Road, currently has 250 students with special needs.
The principal of an East Delhi school, requesting anonymity, said, “Unless a court issues detailed directives to schools for infrastructure, special instructors etc. for children with special needs, all the private schools won’t be willing to take the initiative.”