Supreme Court of India orders to appoint more teachers for special schools

Share on:

The Supreme Court ordered the Central government to notify norms and standards on the student-teacher ratio for special schools as well as separate norms for special teachers who alone can impart education to Children with Special Needs (CwSN) in general schools (Rajneesh Kumar Pandey v. Union of India). A bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C.T. Ravikumar pointed out there is a scarcity of rehabilitation professionals or special teachers recognized and registered by the council concerned,  who alone can impart education and training to handicapped persons. While identifying a lacunae in the law in laying down standards for student-teacher ratio in special schools, the Court said, Further, only 4.33 lakh general teachers have been trained to teach CwSN in addition to teaching general children and only 28,535 special teachers are available for children with special needs/ CwSN,” the bench said. It noted that these figures were stated this year in a July affidavit filed by an under-secretary of the Ministry of Education. The top court said the Centre must forthwith notify the standards of pupil-teacher ratio for special schools and also separate norms for special teachers, who alone can impart education and training to CwSN in general schools across the country.

"Needless to observe that the norms and standards, in particular regarding pupil­-teacher ratio, specified in the Schedule of the 2009 Act, are only to delineate the minimum benchmark. It is open to the State Government, being the appropriate Government, to provide for a higher benchmark for ensuring imparting of quality education by the schools within its jurisdiction. Further, besides the benchmark specified in the Schedule or by the appropriate Government, as the case may be, it is always open to the school management to appoint more teachers on their own than the notified pupil­ teacher ratio, if they so desire, for ensuring imparting of quality education to its students”. The bench finally said this in its 100-page verdict delivered on petitions espousing the cause of teachers having B.Ed. (special) and D.Ed. (special) degree or diploma courses and fully trained to cater to the requirements of CwSN including education and making them independent.