Visually impaired students in Hyderabad city left high and dry

The Old City hostel block was demolished 3 years ago and a new one is being constructed, said a music teacher at the govt school for blind

HYDERABAD: The only two government schools for the visually impaired in Hyderabad - one in the Old City for boys and another in Malakpet for girls - are allegedly not maintained well.

The schools do not have even one government-appointed teacher, students do not have caretakers, and food is not served to them properly. toilets are located 300 metres away from school and hostel premises.

The authorities demolished a hostel three years ago and are yet to complete the construction of a new one. Students are allegedly forced to study, eat and sleep in classrooms. These factors are resulting in increasing dropouts every passing year.

The Old City hostel block was demolished three years ago and a new one is still being constructed, said a music teacher, at the Government High School for the Blind. There are only 40 students in the Old City school, down from 60.

“A total of 30 students are packed in two to three classrooms which can only accommodate five students in each class,” said the teacher. “Also, as the school is not in English medium,” the teacher said. Earlier, the government used to make several announcements about admissions in the city and villages which stopped ever since the outbreak of Covid-19. “We do not have any new admissions,” the teacher said.

Headmaster of the Malakpet school said there were additional admissions and there were cleaners for 75 students. “These cleaners are appointed by NGOs and not the government. Study materials in Braille are given to students and no Braille kits are provided in those schools,” he said.

The universal Braille kit has a Braille cube, an alphabet plate, a Braille slate and stylus, a standard abacus and instruction manuals. Whereas, Braille script consists of arrangements of dots which make up letters of the alphabet, numbers, and punctuation marks.

“The students in both the schools are malnourished. Out of them 10 per cent from each school require immediate care. There is no proper drinking water facility. The study material is not up to the mark and hardly any classes are taken,” said an NGO who provides aid to these students.

“No Braille teachers have been appointed in these schools. We appointed two helpers from our end,” said a member from the NGO. As per the disability welfare department, Malakpet, cellphones were provided to 75 students in the Malakpet block through which they can listen to classes.

“As the Braille script was not used for two years, students are using the same sheets. The entire study material is provided and they are not having any difficulty in hostels as well,” claimed Sailaja, warden, Malakpet school, who works in the disability welfare department.

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