SEO Facing a Tall Order

SEO Facing a Tall Order  SEO Facing a Tall Order

The Special Education Organization (SEO) in Iran – responsible for improving conditions for disabled students – provides a range of rehabilitation services, namely speech-therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and counseling across the country, Mohsen Ghafoorian, the planning and rehabilitation deputy of the organization said at the weekend.

“SEO finances all the services provided by counselors and therapists in the designated schools, and part of the rehabilitation costs incurred by households of special students,” ILNA quoted him as saying.

The expenses for special education as opposed to general education are compensated with “a meager extra payment,” he said without elaboration.

All SEO staff lost their extra benefits including access to housing loans after the revised civil service code came into effect in 2007. However the SEO is trying to reverse the situation, he said.

Furthermore, every five-year of work normally counts for 6 years of experience in special education, and teachers can retire with a full pension after having worked for 25 years instead of the mandated 30 for general education.

Regulations in special schools differ from those in other education centers, for instance, ordinary classes comprise 25 to 35 students, while the number is six in classes for all types of visual, hearing, or motion disabilities.

Based on the latest cost and audit reports, the education/training expense for students with special needs is almost five times that of a normal student.

Autistic students – usually in classes of three to five – belong to one of the most deprived groups in terms of education. The SEO has specific plans to help alleviate the plight of their families by paying a part of their medical and rehabilitation expenses in the current Iranian calendar year (began March 21) with the help of the relevant state welfare bodies and NGOs.

Education and training for those with physically and mentally challenged is a daunting enterprise in most countries, more so in the developing and underdeveloped nations where national budgets are almost always in the red over overstretched. Yet, teachers, more often than not, hardly get the appreciation they deserve.

The attrition, or “burn-out,” rate for special-need teachers is extremely high compared to most other professions. About 50 percent of teachers involved with special-need students across the world normally quit  their job within five years. Half of those who make it past five leave within 10 years.