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February 24, 2003

Woes of School of Deaf go unheeded

From: Newindpress, India - 24 Feb 2003

HYDERABAD: V Shanti is a class VII student of the Government High School for Deaf and Dumb at Malakpet. Though in class VII, her writing skills are on par with a class I student.

Like Shanti there are scores of students who feel that the school teachers are not making any effort to teach them the alphabet. Most of the school teachers, barring a couple of them, use the oral method of teaching, which is very difficult for the deaf to comprehend. Many a student have expressed their inability to grasp the content of the lecture as it is not in sign language, the native communication channel of the deaf.

The school with a 250-plus strength is one of its kind school in the State set up in the ?50s. The school has been plagued by several problems since its inception.

??It is as good as not attending any school,?? Shanti told this correspondent through an interpreter of sign language. The school lacks an audiologist and a speech therapist. The two posts, as recommended by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment scheme to promote voluntary action for person with disabilities, are meant to tap the residual hearing of students.

Surprisingly no child in the school is seen with a hearing aid. One wonders if the entire school is so profoundly deaf? If the school is so profoundly deaf, it is mandatory for the school to have a bilingual method of teaching combining the oral method of teaching with the sign language.

In case, if the students are not ?profoundly? deaf, there should have been hearing aids to them. The state of student hostel is pathetic. Further, breaking the convention hostels for the young girls and boys are on the same premises.

The school students are sore with the warden for not providing them adequate security. The school is being used for all kinds of nefarious activities by anti-social elements. A few students are forced to double up as store keepers too.

Teaching aids like abacus, geometry kits, specially made toys and group induction kits, audiometer and language lab are a far cry at the school.

??The students are coming under the influence of outsiders and they no longer respect our word,?? says Mufakthar Jahen, principal of the school.

??We are taking steps to do the needful?? was that R Sundaravadan, Commissioner for Disabled Welfare, could say when confronted with the sad state of affairs at the school.

© 2003 Newindpress