Social and economic development of underdeveloped & developing countries bringing about an equitable growth eradicating the poverty, hunger, malnutrition, illiteracy and providing the poor better livelihood options...
Dear Readers, Please Give Comments, Like and Send in Facebook, Subscribe this via RSS or E mail. Become a follower of this site through Google Friend Connect or Google reader or Blogger.... Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org anything...
Inclusive education is primarily about restructuring
school culture, policy and practice so that it responds to the diversity of
students in the locality. It sees individual differences not as problems to be fixed, but as opportunities
to enrich learning and embrace change
“A society that has no
vision for the education of children and youth
and is not prepared for
the same, is doomed to die.”
is the right of every child for that is what equips him to meet the challenges
of life. Children with disabilities need this all the more, to supplement their
different talents so that they can prepare themselves for a happy, productive
and useful life. Apart from formal education, per se, children with
disabilities have also to contend with several issues connected with their
disability, such as attitude of the society, lack of employment opportunities and
health concerns. These issues have been topics of deliberation at various fora
within the country and across the world including the United Nations. It is
widely recognized that much more needs to be done to integrate children and
adults with disabilities in the mainstream.
has the second largest education system in the world, with more than 200
million school aged children. 6 to 14 years of these approximately 20 million (10
per cent) do not have access to regular education (as per NSSO 2002 &
Census 2001). While the national average of enrolment in schools is over 90 per
cent, less than five per cent of children with disabilities are enrolled in schools.
Moreover, about 40 per cent of these children are not able to complete the first five years of basic education, while another 20 percent
leave school prior to the completion of three years of free and compulsory
schooling as mandated by our Constitution.
Constitution of India enshrined that elementary education is a fundamental right
of every child. The
same has been reiterated in several international instruments like the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 and the Biwako Millennium Framework
for action towards an inclusive, barrier-free and right-based society. The
National Policy on education states - “In our national perception, education is
essentially for all… Education has an
acculturating role. It refines sensitivities
and perceptions that contribute to national cohesion, a scientific temper and independence of mind and spirit”. The country also has a national policy for
persons with disabilities framed by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. The policy reflects their concern and recognizes that persons
with disabilities are a valuable human resource and seeks to create an
environment which provides them equal opportunities, protects their rights and
ensures full participation in social and community activities. This in itself includes
children with disabilities.
policies have resulted in mixed outcomes. The challenges that hamper
implementation of inclusive education span across attitudes and lack of
training, resources and administrative framework. National legislation and policies
in several other countries have also emphasized the need for inclusion and
types of schooling options are available for children with disabilities. These
can be classified into the
following basic categories:
schooling options are :
options under non-formal education like National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS)
and distant learning through Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) are
also practical approaches to education..
based education where the child is enrolled in a school but is unable to attend
on a daily basis due to multiple reasons such as mobility /self help related
disabilities. In a few developed countries, families choose to educate the child
at home but this is not so common in India.
education is primarily about restructuring school culture, policy and practice
so that it responds to the diversity of students in the locality. It sees individual differences not as
problems to be fixed, but as opportunities to enrich learning and embrace change.
Inclusive education is a dynamic and continuing process of facilitating the
participation of all students, including those with disabilities. This process
involves work at various levels including that of classroom teachers to modify teaching-learning
strategies to teach children with disabilities.
Initiatives & Schemes for Inclusive
Government of India launched a number of programmes such as Operation
Blackboard but most of them focus mainly on infrastructure, education of girls,
SC/ST students. Some programmes like Integrated Education for Disabled Children
and the District Primary Education Programme focused on promoting education were
also launched with limited success. Education has been the joint responsibility
of the Centre and the states. The former provides policy frameworks and
budgetary support while the State and Union Territories organise, structure and
implement their own policies.
signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability on 30th March, 2007, the day it opened for
signature. India subsequently ratified the Convention on October 1, 2007 and
has committed to providing equal educational opportunities to all persons
including children with disabilities. As per Article 24 of the
Convention, Government has already initiated a number of steps to amend
legislation regarding Rights of Persons With Disability to harmonize it with
provisions of UNCRPD. A new department of Disability Affairs has been created
in the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment to focus on the
policy issues and problems of persons with disabilities. The department will
also help in strengthening the existing schemes, formulating new schemes and also
introducing technological innovations. However, execution poses the real
challenge. The sad reality remains that children with disabilities are still
being rejected by many schools.
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, a flagship
programme of the Ministry of
Human Resource Development has set a goal of providing 8 years of elementary schooling
for all children including children with disabilities in the age group of 6-14 years.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan framework also provides for zero rejection.
programme is making good progress and covers nearly 195 million children in
over 1.2 million schools in the country. Out of these, nearly 60% schools are
now barrier free. The component of inclusive education in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
is still lower than planned. The issue of access to education and lack of other
infrastructural and financial
resources for children with disabilities
in rural areas remain to be addressed.
with disability in the age group of 4-14 years are provided free education
under the Integrated Education for Disabled Children Scheme. A large
number of NGOs in India are working on disability issues and are perceived by
the Government as widening the implementation framework and also bringing greater flexibility and innovation in the educational programmes
including promotion of inclusive education. In addition to Government schools,
some private schools have also been voluntarily implementing inclusive education
but these are mainly in urban areas. National Trust also provides substantial
scholarships for education of persons with disabilities.
philosophy of Inclusive Education rests on giving equal opportunities and full
participation to an integrated group of persons with and without disability studying
together regardless of any
difficulties or differences they may
Primary goals of Inclusive Education
bring out the best in the child, without alienating him/ her.
provide the child with a warm and enriched environment.
assist the child in developing basic skills to cope with day to day challenges.
develop skills that will enable the child to become self-reliant.
help the child develop a desirable attitude towards society.
training and school leadership are essential components for successful
implementation of inclusive education in the classroom. There is a need to include
a paper on disability in training programmes for teachers. This is necessary to
help teachers to
be sensitive to the specific needs of
children with Disabilities and empower them to identify and deal with
will include provision of effective educational services, assistive devices,
support services, age-appropriate classes, barrier free environment,
availability of neighbourhood school and involvement, vocational training, sports
and cultural activities should be made a part of school curriculum.
meaningful inclusion of children with disabilities, all teachers shall be
oriented to deal with such children with disability, in a classroom situation.
of systemic changes & trained human resource in schools & workplaces
-Poor implementation of policies &
economic, religious & linguistic variations preventing programme development
of technologically advanced resources
funds, mechanism to streamline identification procedures and collection of data
to assess the quantitative and qualitative progress in inclusive education, creating
barrier-free school buildings.
government is the primary stakeholder, a number of NGOs and private
institutions are playing a major role in the promotion of inclusive education.
are several institutions in India who have successfully implemented integrated
as well as inclusive education.
Amar Jyoti School in Delhi and Gwalior
Jyoti is the pioneering institution promoting inclusive education since the day
of its inception in 1981. With the ratio of almost 50:50 of the disabled and the
non disabled, the school has been aiming at inculcating a better understanding
of disability, while
instituting confidence among children
with impairments. The school in Delhi has a mix of 450 and in Gwalior 250
are four sections with a total of seventy students with hearing and speech
impairment. Initially hearing impaired students are given training in lip
reading and sign language. Training in total communication makes their entry in
regular sections easier. Some girls are good in dance and sports. Most of these
students have been found to be good in drawing and painting.
eight visually impaired students have been fully integrated in regular classes.
Eleven are still in a special section where they are receiving training in Braille
and mobility. Through special software they are being trained in computers also.
are eight sections for over one hundred intellectually challenged students. One
section has been earmarked for children with multiple disabilities also.
orthopedically challenged are given assistive devices and sent to regular
classes. In fact after initial training and social integration the regular
class become inclusive of the able and the disabled studying together.
learn to play before they learn to read or write. Cultural activities and sports have a
special role in developing children into young adults. Through these activities
children develop intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically. Young
children are natural explorers; they are never still, and seldom silent. They
learn by trial and error as they play together. A child with a disability is no
exception. The events have to be planned in a manner that the able and the disabled
can play together. In cultural activities also we experience that inclusion helps inculcating confidence and highlights their abilities.
institution has adopted a holistic approach to education, medical care,
rehabilitation and vocational training.
team of special educators, parents, counsellors, therapists, social workers and
doctors play a significant role in implementing inclusion. They can be either on the roll of the
institution or visiting faculty. Each one of them ensures implementation of
components of inclusion. The rather slow speed of spread of inclusive education
despite a zero rejection policy is due to a number of difficulties. While there
is no shortage of issues and constraints in the interpretation and
implementation of inclusive education in the country, a more pragmatic view
needs to be taken both by the Centre and the States.
journey has not been easy but it demonstrates that it is possible to provide holistic
rehabilitative services to children with disabilities not only to include them
in mainstream society but also to enable them to enjoy a life of equality and
other important events for training to make inclusion a reality are :
Implications for all schools :
order to promote and implement inclusive education effectively the following points
need to be kept in mind :
-Need proper transport and enabling
environment for children with special needs.
of parents as learners, teachers, decision makers and advocates.
interactive & fun filled
of flexible curriculum to reduce academic load.
of gender and other social biases. Develop appropriate teaching and learning
linkage between preschool and primary education.
of adequate resource.
Institutions implementing inclusion
for Ability Development & Inclusion (AADI), New Delhi; Akshay Pratishthan,
New Delhi ; Tamanna, New Delhi ; Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, New Delhi ; Laxman Public
School, New Delhi ; Blind People’s Association, Ahmedabad; Indian Institute of
Cerebral Palsy, Kolkota; Spastic Society of Manipur, Manipur ; Vidya Sagar,
Chennai; National Centre for Inclusion, Mumbai; Digdarshika Institute of Rehabilitation
& Research, Bhopal; Drishtidan, Guwahati and many more.
of constraint of space, the list given above is not comprehensive but only
Benefits of successful inclusion
learn to appreciate each other’s unique strengths and abilities.
are encouraged to help each other.
with disabilities are able to foster friendships in a natural, supportive, and encouraging
students get a chance to develop positive attitudes towards people with differences.
and a feeling of achievement surfaces automatically.
imbibe desirable social behaviour best from each other.
The Way Forward
sensitive and secular policies of the Government have helped to create an
infrastructure and attitude in the country to address the needs of persons with
disabilities. There is a paradigm shift from charity to empowerment and from
the medical model to the psycho-social models. The Government is committed to provide
equal rights to persons with disabilities for education, inclusion and
empowerment. A separate Department of Disability Affairs has recently
been created in the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment to specifically empower Persons with Disabilities. There is
also a need to promote academic discussions for assessing the impact of
different approaches in the present inclusive set up.
initial years may prove trying
since difficulties & problems will
arise & progress may be slow & gradual. It is important to maintain
self belief & faith in one’s capabilities. The strength of an inclusive set
up is a dedicated and committed management and its team. This expansion of facilities
can be undertaken in phases preferably by starting with one or two types of
disabilities depending on the number of such children with disabilities living in
the neighbourhood, ensuring involvement of parents, provision of assistive
devices and providing special concessions and reforms in examination systems.
and mainstreaming should guide all decisions and policies dealing with persons
with disabilities. While planning for inclusion in education the learning should
be an integral part of the team of stakeholders, special attention should be
paid to ensure retention of children with disabilities in school. The
desirability and need of designating a single Ministry as the responsible
implementation agency for inclusive education should be expeditiously examined.
This would ensure the success of implementation of the 86thConstitutional amendment in 2002 to make
elementary education for all children and implementation of the Sarva Shiksha
short, the way forward lies in adopting a multi-pronged approach comprising
teamwork amongst policy makers and stakeholders, ensuring comprehensive
services for inclusion, providing retention in schools, allowing assistive
devices like talking calculators, talking pens and other concessions in examinations
and reforms in the examination system, training of trainers, strengthening
providing sufficient resources.
all these, the inclusive education, though difficult, will become possible.
Dr Uma Tuli The author is Founder &
Managing Secretary, Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust and Former Chief Commissioner
for Persons Disabilities Delhi.