SEFI serves professional interest of special educators: Kalpagiri, National Convener
Kalpagiri Sreenu is National Convener of the SEFI, a national platform for special educators in India. In an interaction with Devdiscourse, he shares the achievements and vision of his organization.
Kalpagiri Sreenu is a columnist, child rights activist, humanitarian and Founder cum National Convener of the Special Educators' Forum – India (SEFI). He himself is a special educator in Hyderabad in the field of hearing impairment for centrally sponsored scheme 'Samagra Shiksha' of the Telangana State since 2005.
SEFI is dedicated for developing and promoting professional excellence through the support of special education teachers. In an interaction with Devdiscourse for it's initiative Devdiscourse Connect, he shares the achievements and vision of his organization.
What are the main areas of operation of your organization?
The Special Educators Forum India (SEFI) was formed by special educators who worked in association with the Centrally sponsored schemes (presently Samagra Shiksha) under Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) at national level since 2016. Gradually it diversified to include related issues such as universal inclusive education for Children and Youth with Special Needs (CYwSN), uniform recruitment rules for special educators and their salaries, amendment of Right to Education Act, 2009 for effective implementation of inclusive education for CYwSN. Besides, the issues pertaining to the awareness and sensitization on inclusive education, inequality and accessibility of CYwSN are also taken up by the organization.
How, according to you, your organization is contributing to achieving any one or more SDGs?
Our Organization is contributing to SDG 4, mainly focused on education. It's policy making and advocacy related activities are related to rights of People with Disabilities (PwDs). Further, it is interlinked to equality, development, employment and accessibility as well. As the provisions of education in India are not much disable-friendly, the admission of special children in schools is declining by about 9-12 % every year. Here comes the role of SEFI.
We have been raising the problems faced by CYwSN in education including in classrooms. They are related to access, identification and classroom setting with suitable appliances, physical infrastructure facilities, teachers' attitude towards acceptance of CYwSN, recruitment of special educators, teachers training, curriculum, evaluation measures in examinations for CYwSN, separate wing for special education, sensitization programs for parents, teachers, communities, and NGOs.
So far, what are the main achievements of your organization in line to the SDGs set up by the United Nations for the year 2030?
In 2016, SEFI made representations to states and MHRD for uniform salaries and other benefits to special educators. In 2018, SEFI along with its state chapters filed a case in the Supreme Court of India demanding uniform rules on recruitment of special educators which is pending in the court. In 2019, Disabled Welfare Department, Government of Telangana in association with SEFI conducted a state level consultation on "Draft National Educational Policy (DNEP), 2019" with national institutes, officials of education department, disabled rights activists and NGOs.
What are the recent initiatives your organization has made in line to the SDGs?
Every state and Union Territory in India has unique problems in admission of Children with Special Need (CwSN), recruitment of special educators and CwSN interventions. In September, 2019, SEFI had conducted a national survey on "Implementation of Inclusive Education on Children and Youth with Special Needs (CYwSN)" in regular schools and colleges with google questionaires. The project is under progress. Further, SEFI is going to release a report on "Implementation of Inclusive Education for CYwSN – A close observation report – 2019" with the help of a local NGO.
What is your strategy for further expansion of your organization at national level?
Presently, SEFI is looking further in strengthening at national level through membership campaigns, MoUs with leading NGOs and national institutes working in the field of rehabilitation and special education.
Where do you want to see your organization by 2030?
There are about 40,000 to 50,000 special educators in India. Till date, SEFI has reached about 10,000 among them. We strive to do our best in the interest of special educators in the country. We will try to reach at the grass root level.
- FIRST PUBLISHED IN:
- Devdiscourse News Desk