Shortage of teachers holding back education for hearing impaired

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Mr. S.L. Hettiarachchi, Secretary of the Sri Lanka Council for the Blind, sister organization of the National Council for the Deaf, has warned that there are not enough teachers to teach children with visual or hearing impairment, leading to unsuccessful special education units in Sri Lankan State schools. Two of the country’s twenty-five special education schools have even had to shut down because of a lack of funding and teachers, the organization reports.

According to the Principal of the Ceylon School for the Deaf, D. S. Jayasuriya, her school is suffering from a lack of teachers because the posts are not being readily approved by the government. “We have 22 approved staff teachers paid by the government and 10 board staff teachers paid by the board, which has discouraged many teachers,” she says, highlighting the shortage of official funding.

Ms Jayasuriya also points to the extra workload placed on teachers working with children who have special needs. As one teacher puts it, “The government lacks vision on these teachers … We work twice as hard to teach our students, but the government has failed to recognize our effort”.

The problem of identifying students’ strengths and weaknesses, and helping to orient those who are unlikely to pass the General Certificate of Education (GCE), are also a cause for concern. “These students are very talented in various spheres. To improve this, we need a vocational training center within the school,” Ms Jayasuriya adds.

The Sunday Times, Sri Lanka