Sunday, June 20, 2021

PMO intervenes to end Kerala disabled boy’s fight for education

Thiruvananthapuram, March 14: Thirteen-year-old Muhammed Asim’s determination has paid off. Born without hands, Kerala’s Asim had approached everyone he could for the last two years to help him continue his education.
Asim got a boost from the Prime Minister’s office on Wednesday, four days after he started a protest march from his house to the state secretariat after all his attempts get his school in Omassery panchayat in Kozhikode district upgraded to a high school failed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office has directed the Union human resource development ministry to consult with the state education department and address his issue immediately.
“We are really happy the Prime Minister’s office responded so quickly. We hope at least next year he can go to his school,” social activist Naushad Thekkeyil, who sent an online complaint to the Prime Minister last week, said.
The son of a madrassa teacher, who has 90% disability, had completed his Class 7 from the Government Mappila Upper Primary School in Omassery, which is just 250 metres from his house, in 2018.
His father Mohammed Shaheed said after that his son had to sit at home for a year as for a boy who needs his parent’s help to commute and do everyday tasks, the nearest high school 5km away from his house was too far.
Asim had written several letters with his feet to many leaders, including Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, to seek their support. Everyone promised to help but nothing came up.
“We have met many leaders in last two years, MLAs, ministers, opposition leader and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, and they were ready to help. But the state education department found refuge in many technicalities,” Shaheed said.
In June last year, the Kerala High Court directed the state education department to take steps to help him continue his education but nothing happened, he said. His school, which was till Class 4, was upgraded to upper primary in 2014 after then chief minister Oommen Chandy intervened.
But last year the chief minister’s office had forwarded a letter from the education department, saying it was not possible to add more classes to the school, said his father.
With the intervention of the PM’s office, Asim said his goal is now in sight.
Asim said if the school had been upgraded it will benefit many other children, including some from the nearby tribal colonies.
“My education is my right. I want to study well and want to become a teacher. Once I achieve this, I will work among people like me to improve their lives,” he said. (Courtesy: HT)