Zahid Sarfraz

LAYYAH

Lack of staff, especially teachers and unavailability of requisite facilities are likely to force closure of four special education institutions here in this backward district, calling into question the Punjab government’s priorities.

The four special education institutions, established in 2005 by Pervaiz Elahi government, have been faced with acute shortage of staff and other requisite facilities due to which their closure have become imminent if the government does not take measures on war-footings. The four special education institutions include Slow Learners’ School Layyah, Special Education School Layyah, Special Education School Tehsil Karor and Special Education School Tehsil Choubara have been functioning in rental buildings since inception and the government has to pay Rs9 million on rent each year, making a big hole in the meagre allocation for this special sector.

A survey of these schools reveals that there is no speech therapist, psychologist, and Physician doctor. Due to lack of facilities, special children have to suffer multiple problems during learning process.

Talking to The Nation Slow Learners School Principle Khalid Waleed pointed out that there was no permanent teaching staff in the school and all the teaching staff was hired for six month, adding that non-teaching staff, however, worked on permanent basis which remained free during the unavailability of teaching staff. “This pattern really hurts the education process of special children and should be changed for the betterment of slow learners who were already faced with some sort of disabilities,” he elaborated.

Talking to The Nation DG Khan Division DO Special Education Mr Zia informed that all special education institutions were faced with lack of staff and facilities across the division. Appearing sanguine about the betterment, he expressed his hope that the situation would become better with the allocation of ample funds for missing facilities and hiring of teaching staff in the upcoming budget. There are a total of 21 special education institutions across DG Khan Division of which only three institutions have psychologists who actually play the key role in the education of special children and slow learners.

On the other hand, Punjab Assembly Standing Committee on Special Education Chairman Shahabuddin Khan Sehar told this correspondent that applications had been invited for recruitment against the vacant posts through advertisement in newspapers. He claimed that all missing facilities including staff paucity in the special education institutions would be addressed soon.

Amid all such claims, the glaring fact concerning people is that there is no high school for special children in Layyah district due to which special children including girls have to discontinue education after passing middle level. People at large, especially parents of special children have demanded the Punjab government to establish a high school in Layyah for the bright future of their children.

They also appealed to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz to take notice of the poor condition of the existing special education schools and allocate ample funds for the betterment of these institutions to ensure quality education to special children.