Introduction: Inclusive Education (Education for All) is a process of addressing and responding to diversity of needs of all learners through increasing participation in learning, cultures and communities, and reducing exclusion within and from education. It involves changes and modifications in content, approaches, structures and strategies, with a common vision which covers all children of appropriate age range and a conviction that it is the responsibility of the regular system to educate all children. Inclusive Education starts with the belief that we all can learn, that we are all different, that we all belong to, and have a role in the society and that differences can and should be valued.
Objectives of policies on Inclusive Education
- The governments have to give the highest policy and budgetary priority to improve their education systems to enable them to include all children regardless of individual differences or difficulties.
- The governments have to adopt as a matter of law or policy the principle of inclusive education, enrolling all children in regular schools unless there are compelling reasons for doing otherwise.
- The training programmes for the teachers have to include the education of disabled children.
- All children have access to general education system, to expand the coverage to reach the unreached population.
The IEDC Scheme, which is being implemented in over 20,000 schools in India covering over 1,20,000 children with disabilities. aims to provide educational opportunities for children with mild and moderate disabilities in general schools.
- The scheme includes pre-school training, counselling for parent, allowance for books and stationery, uniforms, transport, reader and escort, hostel facilities and assistive devices.
- Education has focused on enrollment of Children with Special Needs (CWSN) as schools are resistant to admitting most CWSN.
- IEDC was successful in creating awareness on the importance of integrating CWSN in the mainstream of education, a fact noted in the National Policy on Education, 1986.
The National Policy on Education, 1986 (NPE, 1986)
The objective to be achieved as stated in the NPE, 1986 is “to integrate the physically and mentally handicapped with general community as equal partners, to prepare them for normal growth and to enable them to face life with courage and confidence”.
Rehabilitation Council of India Act 1992
The said act was passed by the Parliament in 1992, this act makes it mandatory for every special teacher to be registered by the council and lays down that every child with disability had the right to be taught by a qualified teacher. In fact it provided punishment for those teachers who engaged in teaching children with special needs without a valid registration.
Persons with Disabilities Act (Equal opportunity, protection of rights and full participation )1995 (PwD Act)
The Act stresses the need to provide free of cost education to all children in an appropriate environment till they are 18 years old and further emphasize their right to measures like:
- Transport facilities to the students with disabilities
- Architectural barrier free Environment.
- The supply of books, uniforms and Aids & Appliances.
- The grant of scholarship to students with disabilities.
- Setting up of appropriate forum for the redressal of grievances.
- Suitable modification in the examination system.
Restructuring of curriculum for the benefit of students with hearing impairment.
As mentioned in Section 2.1, in India disability is measured in five categories – sight, speech, hearing, locomotor, and mental – which excludes disabilities such as autism. In addition, a person has to be medically certified as having 40% or more of one of these disabilities in order to be counted and so qualified to request ‘benefits’.
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, 2002 (SSA)
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is the government’s millennial Education For All (EFA) umbrella programme for all education schemes, which aims to universalize elementary education, the goals are that all children aged 6-14 including the enrolment of children with disabilities.
The right of children to free and compulsory education (amendment) bill, 2012
The Act stresses the need to provide and to have right to free and compulsory education neighborhood school till the completion of his or her elementary education and further emphasize confirming the zero rejection in school admission.
Why Inclusive Education?
There are a number of reasons why inclusive education is a better concept to adopt. The integrated education enhances the social acceptance of a child due to the following factors:
- Accessible to the disabled in all parts of the country.
- Use of existing infrastructure and resources possible with some modification.
- Least cost solution.
- The child has the advantage of being in an environment which shares with his/her peers.
- Congenial company instead of isolation – a natural social environment. Participation in the general community life.
- Stays with his/her family thus ensuring family bonding.
The Inclusive Class may have the following Children:
- Regular Normal School Children,
- Children with Visual Impairment,
- Children with Hearing Impairment,
- Children with Locomotor Disability
- Children with Mental Retardation.
INGREDIENTS for Successful Inclusion
- INFRASTRUCTURE: Infrastructure should be such that it creates a barrier-free environment.
- NATIONAL LEVEL POLICIES: We have sufficient national level policies as discussed above, but the need of the hour is to have more policies to implement inclusive education
Techniques for Inclusive Education
- One to one peer support
- Collaborative teaming
- Group work
- Valuing difference of race, gender, ethnicity, disability, age or religion
- Lesson planning that will you support the needs of all learners
- Use of Visual e.g. photos, mind maps, maps and diagrams, pictures, film clips, digital cameras, wall displays
- Use of Auditory Techniques: e.g. use storytelling, talking, effective questions, problem solving, clear sequencing, music, singing
- Use of Kinaesthetic e.g. use movement, role play, artefacts, use the environment
- Scaffolding [practical materials] e.g. writing frames, pictograms, sounds, pictures, objects, artefacts, word lists, number lines etc.
- Appropriate use of augmented communication and Information and Communication Technology.
Capacity Building Techniques:
- Capacity building i.e., suitable personnel for the implementation process at all levels and in all areas are very much required.
- Teachers should master the skills for curriculum adaptation and they should be able to develop readiness skills in persons with disability.
PD Act 1995 – Emphasis is on appropriates educational, placement of children with disabilities based on their needs, which demands that a suitable system be developed to include children in regular schools.
- UNDERTAKING: Positive Attitude and Flexibility may be inculcated. Seamless Educational Provision may be provided.
- SENSITIZATION: Sensitization of Administrators, Parents, Principals, Teachers, Drivers and Ayahs should be taken as goal which needs to be achieved.
- INTIATIVES: Initiative of all those in the process of inclusive education can bring about the desired result.
- ORGANISATION: Every child can be part of inclusive education through careful planning and systematic organization. Children with Special Needs (CWSN) even educable children with Mental retardation and children with learning problems.
Conclusion: Despite the above challenges of Inclusive Education, the progress in this direction has been insignificant. We believe that Inclusive Education is the only answer for ‘Education for all’ which includes children with disabilities. The process of inclusive education has started, but much needs to be done to achieve the desired result.