LAHORE - Punjab Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan has said that taking good care of the children with birth defects is a joint responsibility of the government and society. He said that the issues of special children were very close to his heart; therefore, he had obtained special permission from Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar to bring improvement in this sector.

He expressed these views while presiding over a meeting of the Special Education Department here Thursday. Provincial Minister for Special Education Chaudhry Muhammad Akhlaq and Secretary Special Education Syed Javed Iqbal gave a briefing during the meeting.

Aleem said that modern gymnasiums with special facilities for special children would be set up in major cities of Punjab and in the first phase, a state-of-the-art gymnasium would be inaugurated in Lahore by the Punjab Chief Minister soon. He said that awareness should be created about education and training of children with disabilities in rural areas where people still consider them as burden and keep them locked in their homes.

Aleem expressed satisfaction over the fact that the best services were being provided for education and care of special children by the Department of Special Education.

Aleem directed the officials concerned that the department should convene a joint meeting with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to set up an advisory board, so that they could benefit from each other’s experiences.

He said that concrete and practical steps should be taken for welfare of these children. He said that many steps needed to be taken for the access of children with disabilities. He said buildings should be designed in a way that special children could access them and enter them easily. He directed the Special Education Department to ensure that students do not face any difficulties and develop a long-term plan that can ensure better care of these children across the province.