A NOTE ON INCLUSIVE EDUCATION

INCLUDING THE EXCLUDED

Objectives of Inclusive Education

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The training programmes for the teachers have to include the education of disabled children.
  4. All children have access to general education system, to expand the coverage to reach the unreached population.

Need and Importance of Inclusive Education

Children with special needs are divided into certain groups such as street children, rural female children, marginalized children, vulnerable children, deprived children, working children and children with difficult circumstances. They are by and large excluded from mainstream education and development that may have serious repercussion for the national integrity and solidarity of the country.

Norwich and Nash (2011) argued that in USA and Europe the interventions of inclusive education were started as a part of special Education for the students with disabilities in 1980s. Researchers and educationists made efforts in Europe and USA to include the students with disabilities in mainstream schools that have reflected better results.

Millions of children in South Asia are out of schools and majority of them are the students with disabilities. The reasons of this exclusion are the inaccessibility or irresponsibility of the regular education system to accommodate them in schools. Studies conducted by Lilian & Sandy (2010) found that inclusive education is needed to accommodate children with diverse educational needs from all segments of the society. They endorsed that the regular education system needs changes to accommodate the individuals with special needs. Roger & Julie (2001); Khan, Ahmed, and Ghaznavi (2012) UNICEF’s Report on the Status of Disability in India 2000 states that there are around 30 million children in India suffering from some form of disability. The Sixth All-India Educational Survey (NCERT, 1998) reports that out of India’s 200 million school-aged children (6–14 years), 20 million require special needs education. While the national average for gross enrolment in school is over 90 per cent, less than five per cent of children with disabilities are in schools. According to the Census 2001, there are 2.19 crore persons with disabilities in India who constitute 2.13 percent of the total population. This includes persons with visual, hearing, speech, loco-motor and mental disabilities. Seventy five per cent of persons with disabilities live in rural areas, 49 per cent of disabled population is literate and only 34 per cent are employed.

According to the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2010: reaching the marginalized, children with disabilities remain one of the main groups being widely excluded from quality education. Disability is recognized as one of the least visible yet most potent factors in educational marginalization. The United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which was entered into force in 2008, was ratified by India in October, 2008. It can be safely assumed that achieving the Education for All (EFA) targets and Millennium Development Goals will be impossible without improving access to and quality of education for children with disabilities.

Problems and Challenges of Inclusive Education in India

Inclusive education is a binding and priority for government of India. However, a wide gap in policy and practice exists in the country with respect to inclusive education. There are a number of barriers that hinder proper practice of inclusive education in our country. Based on the literature and personal experiences, the authors believe these barriers to include the following:

Unskilled Teachers

Appointed teachers in our primary and secondary school are not trained for inclusive education. They have no skills to teach students with disabilities in inclusive education. Das, Kuyini and Desai (2013) examined and reported that nearly 70% of the regular schoolteachers had neither received training in special education nor had any experience teaching students with disabilities. Further, 87% of the teachers did not have access to support services in their classrooms.

Lack of awareness about children with disabilities among teachers

The general teachers, at all levels, lack basic awareness about children with disabilities. They have their own socially and culturally constructed notions about certain obvious disabilities but lack scientific and educational knowledge about the disabilities such as classification, labeling, special needs and adaptations etc.

Improper curriculum design

For practicing inclusive education, curricular adaptations suited to special and unique needs of every learner, including children with disabilities, are necessary. Concepts like ‘Universal Instructional Design’ are to be properly developed and incorporated into the curriculum. However, needed curricular adaptations are either missing altogether or are improper.

Difficulties in physical access

Image result for access of schools

School environment needs accommodations for truly practicing inclusive education. However, such accommodations are not there in majority of the schools. Facilities like slopes, lifts, and directional cues etc. are mostly absent in schools.

Support services

For implementing inclusive education in all schools, at all levels, we need strong support services. Their strength should be both quantitative and qualitative. But, existing support services are scarce and inadequate.

Illiteracy of parents

In rural India maximum parents are illiterate or careless about disable

child education. They did not take interest to educate disabled child and accept disability as a curse of god.

Family collaboration

In Indian society and culture, it can be safely stated that family has a very important role in implementing inclusive education in India. Family is considered having sole responsibility for their children in India. Hence, inclusion can only be realized by motivating and involving family in the process.

Insufficient and improper teacher training

The teacher training programs running in our country are gives training only for normal children. Modifications are needed to make these teacher education programs more effective. Currently, teacher education programs producing special teachers are controlled by Rehabilitation Council of India whereas these producing general teachers are controlled by National Council for Teacher Education. These two apex bodies need to collaborate and devise measures for producing skilled teachers capable of implementing inclusive education.

Negative self-perceptions of children with disabilities

For practicing inclusive education, negative self-perceptions of children with disabilities pose a great challenge. These negative perceptions are often strengthened by neighbours, peers, and teachers. Without wiping out these negative self-perceptions, true inclusion of such children is not possible.

ICT Resources unavailability

Present age is the age of information and communication technology (ICT). ICT is providing great help in almost all endeavours of human life including education and training. There are a number of ICT-enabled pedagogical and assistive devices are available particularly useful for children with disabilities. Their use can ease and expedite inclusive education. These should be made available and competencies for their use should be developed among all stakeholders.

Improper policy planning and lack-luster implementation

Government of India claims that it has implemented inclusive education everywhere and at all levels. However, the policy planning is improper and measures to assess the degree of implementation have not been developed. Furthermore, implementation of inclusive education in private sector has not been enforced and ensured.

Expenses involved

For a huge and diverse country like India, implementation of inclusive education at all levels requires a lot of money to be spent. The government does not seem willing to incur this huge expenditure. Being a developing country, the apprehensions of the government can be very well understood. The barriers mentioned here do not form an exhaustive list but authors believe that not much are left out.

Advantages of Inclusive Education

  1. Both the “normal” children and the disabled children can learn from each other, thus teaching acceptance of one other.
  2. Help the disabled children develop socially.
  3. Everyone is granted an equal education.
  4. Prepare the disabled children for a future that they might otherwise not have.
  5. It helps the disabled child to develop a sense of pride in their work because they actually fill like they accomplished something.

 

Disadvantages of Inclusive Education

  1. The disabled children can be disruptive.
  2. There is a problem with bullying.
  3. The teacher tends to be impatient towards the disabled child or simply don’t want to be bothered with these students.
  4. The teacher might talk over the disabled child’s head thus leaving the child bored.
  5. The teacher has to slow down to teach the disabled child thus creating boredom among the other students.

ROLE OF TEACHERS

  1. Conscious – It involves teacher’s awareness regarding diverse needs of learners in the classroom. The teacher has to be conscious that no one-size can fit all. They have to be cognizant that they adopt and utilize multiple ways to reach out to every student. The teaching – learning process has to be treated in such a manner that the design suits universally.
  2. Concerned – It requires a teacher to be empathetic for all learners especially to the marginalized learners. The teacher has to be concerned that CWSN are a part of the group and have equal rights the way other learners do. Thus, the teacher has to lay utmost consideration towards CWSN to help them emerge as active members in the group.
  3. Competence – Being ‘competent’ refers to teacher’s ability to figure out varied ways, methods and approaches in catering the needs of diverse group of learners. The knowledge, skills and expertise are submerged into a broader term ‘Competence of a Teacher’. The teacher has to acquire sufficient competence to target varied faculties of learning.
  4. Creation – It involves amalgamation of concern and competence to create something magnificent and valuable. At this age, a big, rocky mountain stands upright in the way of all educators but a smoother road and an awe-inspiring path is yet to be created to reach to our final destination – ‘INCLUSION’. Thus, educators have to actively take risks, create new strategies & methods, innovate ideas & technology and challenge old beliefs & ideas.
  5. Commitment – It involves continuous work in the field of inclusion with a great zeal, passion, and enthusiasm. Teachers should continue to upgrade their knowledge, should be open minded and ready to adopt effective & evidenced based practices.
  6. Catalyst – A teacher’s work doesn’t confine to the students but extends to acting as a source of inspiration for the entire Teacher community. A teacher has to be an effective leader and should bring positive change in the field. An educator should rule out ineffective practices in teaching-learning process and should advocate research based practices.

 

Adopting 6Cs and questioning and improvising ourselves being teachers on the above parameters can support us to be truly effective and competent teachers to bring inclusion as never before reality. in a free society.

 

  1. In realizing this right, States Parties shall ensure that: (a) Persons with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability, and that children with disabilities are not excluded from free and compulsory primary education, or from secondary education, on the basis of disability;

(b) Persons with disabilities can access an inclusive, quality and free primary education and secondary education on an equal basis with others in the communities in which they live;

(c) Reasonable accommodation of the individual’s requirements is provided;

(d) Persons with disabilities receive the support required, within the general education system, to facilitate their effective education;

(e) Effective individualized support measures are provided in environments that maximize academic and social development, consistent with the goal of full inclusion.

  1. Enable persons with disabilities to learn life and social development skills to facilitate their full and equal participation in education and as members of the community. To this end, States Parties shall take appropriate measures, including: (a) Facilitating the learning of Braille, alternative script, augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication and orientation and mobility skills, and facilitating peer support and mentoring;
  2. (b) Facilitating the learning of sign language and the promotion of the linguistic identity of the deaf community;
  3. (c) Ensuring that the education of persons, and in particular children, who are blind, deaf or deaf blind, is delivered in the most appropriate languages and modes and means of communication for the individual, and in environments which maximize academic and social development. 4. In order to help ensure the realization of this right, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to employ teachers, including teachers with disabilities, who are qualified in sign language and/or Braille, and to train professionals and staff who work at all levels of education. Such training shall incorporate disability awareness and the use of appropriate augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication, educational techniques and materials to support persons with disabilities.
  4. To ensure that persons with disabilities are able to access general tertiary education, vocational training, adult education and lifelong learning without discrimination and on an equal basis with others. To this end, States Parties shall ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided to persons with disabilities.

 

As the outcome of UNCRPD parliament constituted 86th amendment inserted a new article 21A and enacted new Act RTE 2009 which made education a Fundamental Right for children in the age group of 6-14years

Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE), which was passed by the Indian parliament on 4th August 2009, describes the modalities of the provision of free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 in India under the 86th constitutional amendment Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. India became one of 135 countries to make education a fundamental right of every child when the act came into force on 1 April 2010.

In order to promote Rights of CWSN we need to be aware of several of provisions in this Act which will facilitate the promotion of inclusion

“An Act to put into effect the Right to Free and Compulsory Education to all children in the age group of six-fourteen years”, is an important document that details every child’s right to free and compulsory education of equitable quality; responsibility of the State,, parents, schools, teachers; the content and process of education; and the monitoring process for the implementation of the Act.

Important provisions of RTE Act relate to:

  • Child belonging to disadvantaged group” means a child belonging to The Scheduled Caste, the Scheduled Tribe the socially and educationally backward Class or such other group having disadvantage owing to social, cultural, economical, Geographical, linguistic, gender or such other factor, as may be specified by the appropriate Government, by notification.

 

Right to Free and Compulsory Education:

  • Provided that a child suffering from disability, as defined in clause (i) of section 2 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection and Full Participation) Act, 1996, shall have the right to pursue free and compulsory elementary education in accordance with the provisions of Chapter V of the said Act.
  • Special provisions for children not admitted to, or who have not completed, elementary education – Section 4 Where a child above six years of age has not been admitted in any school or though admitted, could into complete his or her elementary education, then, he or she shall be admitted in a class appropriate to his or her age.

 

Duties of Appropriate Government, Local Authority and Parents:

  • Ensure availability of a neighbourhood school
  • Ensure that the child belonging to weaker section and the child belonging to disadvantaged group are not discriminated against and prevented from pursuing and completing elementary education on any grounds;
  • Provide infrastructure including school building, teaching staff and learning Equipment.
  • Provide special training facility
  • Ensure and monitor admission, attendance and completion of elementary education by every child;
  • Ensure good quality elementary education conforming to the standards and norms specified in the Schedule;
  • Ensure timely prescribing of curriculum and courses of study for elementary education;
  • Provide training facility for teachers.
  • Maintain records of children up to the age of fourteen years residing within its jurisdiction,
  • Ensure and monitor admission, attendance and completion of elementary education by every child residing within its jurisdiction;
  • Provide infrastructure including school building, teaching staff and learning material;
  • Provide special training facility

 

Main Provisions under Right to Education Act – 2009:

  • Free and compulsory education to all children of India in the six to 14 age group;
  • The child belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged group are not discriminated against and prevented from pursuing and completing elementary education on any grounds;
  • No child shall be denied admission in a school for lack of age proof.
  • Mandates improvement in quality of education;
  • School infrastructure (where there is problem) to be improved in three years, else recognition cancelled;
  • Financial burden will be shared between state and central government.

Inclusive Education of the Disabled at Secondary Stage (2010)

The Scheme of Integrated Education for the Disabled Children (IEDC) has been replaced by the scheme of Inclusive Education for the Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) with effect from 1.4.2009. The scheme IEDC was meant to cover all classes in the school education stage. With the coverage of children with special needs in the elementary stage under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), the scheme of IEDC was replaced by IEDSS under which children with disability in the secondary stage (classes IX to XII) are covered. The objective of IEDSS is to enable the disabled children who have completed eight years of elementary education to continue their education at the secondary stage in an inclusive environment in regular schools.

Inclusive Education refers to the opportunity for persons with disability to participate fully in all of the educational, employment, consumer, recreational, community and domestic activities that typify every society. (ILSMH-1994). “Inclusive education is a system of education where students with special needs including disabilities are educated in neighbourhood schools in age appropriate regular classroom settings with non-disabled peers & are provided with supports & instructions that meet their individual needs”.

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