The Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC) has said that the National Education Policy (NEP), if implemented, will go against the interest of students with disabilities.

In a statement, the association said aspects of the policy that speak about student enrolment in the schooling system by the age of 3 as well as exams for Classes 3, 5 and 8 will be detrimental to the growth and learning of students with disabilities.

“For students with hearing difficulties, the focus is on one language only and to have a system which insists on three languages will be causing concern,” said the statement, from the association president P. Jansirani and general secretary S. Namburajan.

The association held their State-level meeting via video conference and discussed the policy as well as other concerns affecting students with disabilities.

Noting that there are several students with disabilities who join mainstream schools yearly, TARATDAC called for special education to be included under the school education department and asked for a separate commission to be set up to oversee and regulate this in Tamil Nadu.

Stating that while online classes are being held across the state, the association said that no steps have been taken to ensure that these reach students with disabilities by making them more accessible. “Online education does not ensure equal access for all students and as a result of this, several students including those with disabilities are not able to continue learning,” they said.