Mumbai’s school for students with learning disabilities has given seven-year-old Puneet Khade a new lease of life. Khade has been studying in this school for the last three years and Madhukar Khade, his father, has seen tremendous improvement in his son’s demeanour. Hundreds like him have benefited by the learning centre, which recently moved into its own swanky building.
“He was physically unstable and couldn’t sit in one place for more than five minutes. But now I can see that he is improved a lot and I am happy to see that he can now sit in one place for more than an hour,” Madhukar, who is employed in a private firm said.
Until last week, the school had to share space with other municipal schools in the satellite city. However, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) built a new building for the centre to function in near Raghuleela Mall in Vashi. Parents and teachers feel that this was a step in the right direction for better development of the students.
The learning centre, ‘ETC’ (Education, Training and Services Centre), is built on a 4000 sq meter plot, which was handed over to CIDCO by the NMMC. The total expenditure for the centre was around Rs 11.45 crore.
“Most of my students score really well in their exams,” Varsha Bhagat, director of the rehabilitation centre said. “I feel that every child has to be treated equally. It is my endeavour to bring a smile on the faces of their parents.”
The newly constructed learning centre, which was inaugurated earlier this week, offers various facilities in different units such as e-learning, training room, department of inclusive education, computer classes, early invention class, department of vocational training, audio and speech section, physiotherapy section, psychology section and occupational therapy.
“My son Abhinandan can’t talk or hear, but now being here for the last couple of years, he understands lip movements. I am very happy with the progress he has made,” said another parent Ajit Ghodke.
All the facilities provided by the school are free of cost and in fact students are also given Rs 300-400 as travelling expenses.
Essential equipment such as walker or hearing machines that are otherwise costly buys are given for free.
Sanjeev Naik, Member of Parliament of Lok Sabha said, “When we walked around the classrooms, we saw the students and how happy they were. We wanted to make the public aware that we not only take care of the roads and gutters but also needs of the common man.”