What is inclusive education?
An education system that includes all students, and welcomes and supports them to learn, whoever they are and whatever their abilities or requirements. This means making sure that teaching and the curriculum, school buildings, classrooms, play areas, transport and toilets are appropriate for all children at all levels. Inclusive education means all children learn together in the same schools.
Why is inclusive education important?
- It improves learning for all children – both those with and without disabilities.
- It promotes understanding, reduces prejudice and strengthens social integration.
- It ensures that children with disabilities are equipped to work and contribute economically and socially to their communities.
RTE Act and Samagra Shiksha on Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs (CwSN)
- In the year 2018-19, the Department of School Education & Literacy, MHRD has launched Samagra Shiksha – an integrated scheme for School Education covering children with special needs from classes I to XII.
- The Scheme is governed and regulated by the provisions of the RTE Act, 2009.
- The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 enshrines the entitlement to free and compulsory elementary education, access to school and barrier free access for all children including children with disability.
- Section 3(2) of the RTE Act lays emphasis on the elementary education of all children with disabilities.
- As per the Amendment of 2012, the RTE Act also mandates that, a child with multiple and/or severe disabilities has the right to opt for home based education.
Provisions under Samagra Shiksha for Children with Special Needs (CwSN)
- Under Samagra Shiksha, there is a dedicated component for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs (CWSN) through which various provisions are made available for the educational needs of differently abled children such as,
- Identification & assessment camps
- Provision of aids, appliances
- Assistive devices, teaching learning materials (TLMs)
- ICT resources like JAWS & SAFA, as well as transportation, escort & scribe allowances and stipend for all girls with special needs (from Class I to XII).
- Further, individualized support is provided through therapeutic interventions at the block level.
- Home based education: Further, CWSN with severe impairment requiring individualised attention are provided home based education through special educators.
- Financial support: A Separate provision for financial support of Special Educators has been made under Samagra Shiksha in order to appropriately address the educational requirements of children with special needs from elementary to higher secondary levels.
- Samagra Shiksha also has provisions for ramps, handrails and disabled friendly toilets for barrier free access to schools for all children.
- The focus of Samagra Shiksha is on providing inclusive education to children with disability wherein, children regardless of their abilities/disabilities participate and learn together in the same class, thus creating an enabling educational environment for all students.
- The Union Budget, 2018-19, has proposed to treat school education holistically without segmentation from pre-nursery to Class 12.
- Samagra Shiksha – an overarching programme for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class 12 has been, therefore, prepared with the broader goal of improving school effectiveness measured in terms of equal opportunities for schooling and equitable learning outcomes.
- It subsumes the three schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
- The scheme envisages the ‘school’ as a continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary to Senior Secondary levels.
- The vision of the Scheme is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education from pre-school to senior secondary stage in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for Education.
The major objectives of the Scheme are:
- Provision of quality education and enhancing learning outcomes of students
- Bridging Social and Gender Gaps in School Education
- Ensuring equity and inclusion at all levels of school education
- Ensuring minimum standards in schooling provisions
- Promoting Vocationalisation of education
- Support States in implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009; and
- Strengthening and up-gradation of SCERTs/State Institutes of Education and DIET as a nodal agencies for teacher training.