TMC set to open school for visually impaired

January 09, 2020

Thane Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) will bring visually impaired students studying in civic schools across the city in one centre and provide them with special teaching methods. There are 34 students who will be enrolled in a school at Kopri, Thane, in the new academic year in June.

“In the first year, we will only enroll students from civic schools. Gradually, we open it for admissions for other students. By then, students and teachers will get used to the new teaching methods,” said Manish Joshi, deputy municipal commissioner, TMC.

“It is difficult for teachers to give special attention to children in a regular school. With a special school, children will be more independent and it will be easier to address their problems. As there are fewer students, only four classrooms in Kopri school number 9 will be kept for visually impaired children,” said an official from the TMC.

TMC spent ₹28.3 lakh for the renovation of the school building in Kopri. Three teachers will be allotted for the students from Class 1 to Class 8 and ₹3,000 per child will be spent for transportation. The decision to have the special school in Kopri near Thane railway station was to make it easier for children to reach the institute.

The civic body will provide all basic facilities — uniforms, stationery, midday meals, Braille kit, Braille book, audio book among others. TMC will consult National Association for the Blind regarding syllabus and facilities or technology that may be required for visually impaired students. They will also provide transport facilities or give Rs3,000 per child every.

Parents are happy about the initiative. “My daughter is not well-versed with Braille; she prefers audio books. Although this is a good initiative, I am not sure how she will manage the new curriculum,” said Aarati Parab, 38, resident of Pawar Nagar and mother of 10-year-old Srishti.

Expert opinion

Although TMC will follow the curriculum suggested by the National Association for Blind, it is important to focus on the holistic development of students as well. “There are factors that need to be focused upon while imparting education to visually impaired children like the use of special arithmetic and geometric devices, orientation and mobility and activities of daily living. Tactile maps and Braille books based on the curriculum is also essential. The teachers will have to focus on remedial teaching and peer tutoring for subjects like maths and science.”

“It is essential that every child be provided with a Braille kit. It is essential that every child with difficulty in vision has access to formal education in an appropriate environment and is provided all the support necessary for academic excellence and all-round development,” said Prashant Pathak, executive council member, National Association for the Blind.

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