Inclusion of Children with Special Needs in Education
Inclusion of Children with Special Needs in Education
1) The National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986 and the Programme of Action (1992) gives the basic policy framework for education, emphasizing on correcting the existing inequalities, it stresses on reducing dropout rates, improving learning achievements and expanding access to students who have not had an easy opportunity to be a part of the general system. The NPE, 1986 envisaged some measures for integrating of children with physical and mental handicap with the general community as equal partners, preparing them for their normal growth and development and enabling them to face life with courage and confidence.
2) India has also been signatory to international declarations like the Salamanca Statement and framework for action on special needs education (1994) and Biwako Millennium Framework for Action (2002) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006 that emphasize the need for fundamental educational policy shifts to enable general schools to include children with disabilities. The National Curriculum Framework on School Education (NCF-2005) recommends making the curriculum flexible and appropriate to accommodate the diversity of school children including those with disabilities in both cognitive and non-cognitive areas.
3) The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Integrated Education for the Disabled Children was introduced in 1992 with a view to providing educational opportunities for children with disabilities in general schools, to facilitate their retention in the schools system. It provided for facilities to students with disabilities including expenses on books and stationery, expenses on uniforms, transport allowance, reader allowance, escort allowance, hostel accommodation and actual cost for equipments. The scheme also supported the appointment of special teachers, provision for resource rooms and removal of architectural barriers in schools.
4) The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of SSA of 2001 had set time-bound targets for the achievements of Universal Elementary Education (UEE). With “zero rejection’ as its cornerstone, the programme provided support for the inclusion of children with disabilities in general schools at the elementary level. The SSA norms were further strengthened by the RTE Act, 2009 which talks about free and compulsory elementary education to children without any discrimination on the basis of caste, gender, disability etc.
5) The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 provides a justifiable legal framework that entitles all children between the ages of 6-14 years free and compulsory admission, attendance and completion of elementary education. It provides for children’s right to an education of equitable quality, based on principles of equity and non discrimination. Most importantly, it provides for children’s right to an education that is free from fear, stress and anxiety.
6) While the RTE Act mandates inclusion of children with special needs (CwSN), some children with special needs are unable to attend school despite specific interventions designed for their education. The amendment of RTE Act (in August 2012) has included CwSN in the definition of disadvantaged groups. It includes children with severe - multiple disabilities with the right to opt for Home Based Education (HBE), thus creating an enabling environment for the children.
7) As SSA supported inclusion of children with special needs at the elementary education level, a need was felt for a scheme for the disabled children at secondary stage. The scheme for Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) was, therefore implemented to enable all children and young persons with disabilities to have access to secondary education and to improve their enrolment, retention and achievement in the general education system. Under the scheme every school was proposed to be made disabled-friendly. The Centrally Sponsored IEDSS Scheme aimed at enabling all students with disabilities completing eight years of elementary schooling an opportunity to complete four years of secondary schooling (classes IX to XII) in an inclusive and enabling environment and provided educational opportunities and facilities to students with disabilities in the general education system at the secondary level (classes IX to XII).
8) The Integrated Scheme on School Education aims to look at education of all children including children with Special Needs (CwSN) in a continuum from pre nursery to class XII. The scheme will cover all children with special needs with one or more disabilities as mentioned in the schedule of disabilities of the Right of the Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act, 2016 studying in Government, Government-aided and local body schools.
9) The scheme stresses on working in convergence with all the line Departments/ Ministries and intends to provide relevant holistic support for effective and appropriate services.
10) The objectives of the scheme are:
10.1) Identification of children with disabilities at the school level and assessment of her/his educational needs.
10.2) Provision of aids and appliances, assistive devices, to the children with special needs as per requirement.
10.3) Removal of architectural barriers in schools so that students with disability have access to classrooms, laboratories, libraries and toilets in the school.
10.4) Supplying appropriate teaching learning materials, medical facilities, vocational training support, guidance and counselling services and therapeutic services to children with special needs as per his/her requirement in convergence with line departments.
10.5) General school teachers will be sensitized and trained to teach and involve children with special needs in the general classroom. For existing special educators, capacity building programmes will be undertaken.
10.6) CwSN will have access to support services through special educators, establishment of resource rooms, vocational education, therapeutic services and counselling.
11) Target Group
The scheme will cover all children from pre nursery to senior secondary stage studying in Government, local body and Government-aided schools, with one or more disabilities as defined under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (2016)
namely: 1. Blindness
3. Leprosy Cured persons
4. Hearing Impairment (deaf and hard of hearing)
5. Locomotor Disability
7. Intellectual Disability
8. Mental Illness
9. Autism Spectrum Disorder
10. Cerebral Palsy
11. Muscular Dystrophy
12. Chronic Neurological conditions
13. Specific Learning Disabilities
14. Multiple Sclerosis
15. Speech and Language disability
18. Sickle Cell disease
19. Multiple Disabilities including deaf blindness
20. Acid Attack victim
21. Parkinson's disease
12) Girls with disabilities will receive special focus and efforts would be made under the scheme to help them gain access to schools, as also to provide motivation and guidance for developing their potential.
13) All the enrolled CwSN will be covered through UDISE and will eventually be linked with Aadhaar, ultimately facilitating the State/UT to track CwSN of both systems i.e. those that are in school and those with Home based. The UDISE will have the relevant details of children. Further an extensive database will be developed which will cover all the particulars of children including the type of disability, degree of severity, medical needs, emergency contacts and all other relevant details that will help the School management to cater to the needs of the CwSN.
14) Components of the Scheme The Scheme will include assistance for two kinds of components:
14.1 Student oriented components
The student oriented component may be utilized for specified items like:-
(i) Identification and assessment of children with disabilities.
(ii) Provision of aids and appliances, medical services
iii)IAccess to and development of teaching learning material as per requirement etc.
(iv) Provision of facilities like transport/escort facilities, hostel facilities, scholarship, assistive devices, support staff (readers, amanuensis) etc.
(v) Provision of large print text book, Braille books and uniform allowances.
(vi) Stipend for Girl Students @ Rs. 200 per month for 10 months to encourage their participation in the school system.
(vii) The use of ICT to increase access to a vast amount of information not otherwise available.
(viii) Awareness and motivation camps
14.2 Resource support
14.2.1 Key areas of the Inclusive Education Component.
14.2.2 Education of teachers and other stakeholders.
14.2.3 Curricular access.
14.2.4 Individualized Educational Plan (IEP).
14.2.5 Building synergy with special schools.
14.2.6 Research and Development.
14.2.7 Social Access to CwSN
i. Parental training
ii. Peer sensitization
iii. Awareness building of different stakeholders across all levels
iv. Special emphasis will be given to education of girls with disability
14.2.8 Monitoring & Evaluation: