Additional chief secretary school education and SCERT Banuo Z Jamir Saturday said government should be open minded enough to include people with special needs in the planning process. Emphasizing on the need to sensitize the public, chief guest also said major concern was lack of professionally qualified people to deal with people with special needs.
Following patterns of participatory governance, she said people concerned for requirements of the disabled should tie up with the government in planning process.
Stating this at a “Special Needs Assessment workshop” organized by “Enable” at State Academy Hall, Banuo Z Jamir said government and citizens were not fully aware of requirements needed by the disabled and as such made plans that were not relevant for vulnerable lot.
Banuo also reiterated that it was the responsibility of each citizen to enhance the quality of life of the disabled. “This is a huge platform to demonstrate the Christians’ testimony of love”, she said.
The chief guest also released booklet on disability in Nagaland surveyed by core members of Enable entitled “Abstract- Study on the Status of Disability in Nagaland”. Leader of the survey assessment group, Daniel Thong, an education consultant of Enable, appraised the gathering that first phase of survey was done in Kohima and Phek districts. Research components were based on questions prepared by parents of children with special needs.
Guests and speakers from USA, Melinda Parry, an educator specializing in devising individualized educational plan for disabilities, Rev. Dr. Mar Imsong, pastor, First Baptist Church of Bedford, USA and team members attended the programme. Commissioner and secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Menukhol John was also present at the programme. School teachers, Sunday school teachers, NGOs, CBOs and parents attended the workshop.
Major points of discussion included types of disabilities and their characteristics, interventions, Biblical and theological perspective on disability, etc.
Disability status in Phek and Kohima
A sample survey received from school heads and principals in Kohima and Phek districts revealed that ratio of students enrolled to Children With Special Needs (CWSN) is 189:1 in Kohima district and 64:1 in Phek district, ie out of every 189/64 students, one student suffer from disability.
This was revealed in a booklet compiled by Enable during its survey on the status of disability in Phek and Kohima districts as the first phase of the project. “Abstract- Study on the Status of Disability in Nagaland” was released by additional chief secretary School Education and SCERT Banuo Z. Jamir on Saturday. Enable will carry out similar surveys in all remaining districts. The analysis and interpretation covered schools, villages, government and NGO offices, wards, Primary Health Centres, Community Health Centres, hospitals and individuals.
The survey in Kohima district showed that the highest ratio of students enrolled to CWSN is 65:1 as shown in Tseminyu area, and the least with 261:1 in Kohima town. Among the disabled children in Kohima district, western area has the highest number of low vision with a ratio of 357:1; Tseminyu with the highest in hearing impairment at 355:1; southern area with highest in speech impairment with a ratio of 207:1; Tseminyu area with highest in mental retardation cases at 434:1, northern area with highest in physical retardation at 845:1.
The village council sample revealed that ratio of general children affected with disability is 263:1. The number of CWSN patients from 0-5 years recorded in health centres and hospitals show 120 cases of various types of disability.
Phek district with 64:1 ratio of students enrolled to CWSN has Pfutsero with the highest standing ratio of students to CSWN at 36:1 ie, out of every 36 student, one child is affected with disability. Among the disabled students, out of every four child, one suffers from low vision constituting a ratio of 4:1. Pfutsero has the highest number of students suffering from low vision with a ratio of 178:1; Chozuba as the highest number in hearing impairment at 297:1; Meluri with highest in speech impairment at 264:1, Chizami as the highest in mental retardation with a ratio of 514:1.
The village council sample in Phek district revealed that the ratio of general children affected with disability is 130:1, with Meluri standing as the highest at 61:1. Thirty cases of disability have been recorded in health centres and hospitals in Phek. Concluding the survey, the core members of Enable who conducted research work pointed out the need to conduct case studies in high occurrence areas of disability, conduct awareness campaigns, give counseling, train health workers. It also underlined the need to depute teachers for professional courses, provide equipments in health centres and hospitals and open a professional centre to enhance the capabilities of CWSN by providing special education.