Thiruvananthapuram, May 7: In a major effort towards realisation of the dreams of hundreds of mentally-challenged children, the Kerala government decided to fund, in a phased manner, the expenses of schools for such children.
There are 278 such schools in the state and all but one are in the private sector. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told media after the weekly cabinet meeting that this was one major decision that government took on Wednesday. "Including myself, I will blame all the previous state governments for not doing this before.
When education up to Class XII is free in all the government schools in the state, no one ever thought of providing any aid to these schools, which require the maximum attention and care," said Chandy.
"In the first phase, we decided to fund 23 such schools in the private sector which have more than 100 students each. Likewise we have also decided to give an in-principle sanction to all such schools in the state that have more than 50 mentally challenged children studying. Only after the survey of such schools, will we know how many schools are there," said Chandy.
A director of a school that teaches mentally-challenged children told IANS on the condition of anonymity that this is certainly going to be a huge morale booster for those who run such schools.
"My school has 55 children and we run this school with donations from our well wishers. It's a tough ask because unlike other schools, here we need to have more specially qualified teachers. With this decision, the salaries of the teaching and non-teaching staff would be provided by the government," he said.