Wednesday, April 6, 2011

In India, blind music teacher confronts government about refusal to hire blind teachers

From Express in India:

AHMEDABAD, India -- An academic from Bhuj has written the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court asking for an appointment so that he could meet him with “18 blind music teachers waiting for a job as vidya sahayak in Kutch.”

In the letter, Professor Vakhatsin Jadeja, president of the National Association for the Blind (Kutch branch) has accused the state’s primary education department of violating the Persons with Disability Act of 1995 (PWD Act) by not reserving 10 seats for blind music teachers while recruiting 1027 such teachers.

“I am at a pain to put before your excellency that all sighted music teachers have been given appointment by the Director of Primary Education, Government of Gujarat. This is a clear violation of the disability act,” Jadeja said in the letter, adding a case is pending before the court.

R K Patel, secretary of the association’s Kutch branch, said the recruitments were made in 2008 and 2009. Jadeja himself could not be immediately contacted.

The state’s secretary for primary education, R P Gupta, who is currently in Kerala for election duty, said over phone that there is such a case pending in the court, but was not certain if it was the one Jadeja is referring to in his letter. He said the PWD Act allowed the government discretion.

“Overall, we have three per cent reservations for persons with disability, which includes persons with sight, hearing and locomotive impairment. But the PWD Act itself says the government can exercise discretion, “ he said.

“Can a 100 per cent visually-disabled person ably teach a class of primary school students? Is this an issue of employment or an issue of the children’s future, especially since they are at a critical age as far as education is concerned?”