Children with disabilities (CWD) in our country face discrimination in most areas of life, whether they are physical or intellectual, which excludes them from society. Because of this climate, the majority are forced to live mediocre lives and are denied significant education for children. In addition to discrimination, children’s experiences are made worse by other elements like difficulty accessing schools and a lack of specially prepared teachers.
The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) was authorised by the Indian Union Cabinet in July of this year in order to make reparations and address some of these problems. The National Policy on Education for children from 1986 is intended to be replaced with this policy. It aims to address all types of child marginalisation, including social exclusion, providing education in rural areas, and encouraging inclusive education.
The following list highlights the key aspects of this policy and how they affect CWDs:
- SEDG – The policy introduces a term – Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs), based on gender identities, sociocultural identities, geographical identities, disabilities, and socio-economic conditions. For these groups, it suggests Special Education Zones and provisions segregating the school system and teacher education system from the non- Special Education Zones. This includes community-led volunteering, peer tutoring and special certification courses for teachers.
This reform goes against the fabric of an ‘inclusive society’, by marginalizing the already marginalized communities further rather than promoting a Common School Model wherein children from different strata, study together.
- The School Complex – NEP has introduced the concept of school complexes for CWDs, as per which the schools within a 5-10 km radius will be consolidated into one school complex. This will ensure there are adequate resources for children with disabilities including resource centres and special educators.
However, for CWDs, school distance is an important parameter to consider, as there are challenges with the safe transportation of these children. There is a risk that the objective of resource rationalization may result in lower enrolment and attendance of CWDs.
- Curriculum changes – The policy states that curriculum changes will be made in consultation with national institutes under the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. This is a constructive step provided the curriculum is flexible in design, offers multiple channels of engagement for the CWDs and ensures that the relevant infrastructural facilities, which might be necessitated because of such adaptive norms, are in place.
- FLN and Tracking Learning Outcomes – As per the provisions of NEP, learning outcomes will be tracked as part of PARAKH (a National Assessment Centre). It emphasizes the achievement of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) for all children, by Class III. This provision, although well-intentioned, can exacerbate the divide between the CWDs and other academically successful students, as children unable to complete FLN by Class III, might be subject to further ostracism. This goal driven by achievement is opposed to the ‘Inclusive Education for all Children’ paradigm.
It explores the beliefs and practises of mainstream teachers in rural government schools in the setting of rising learner variety. Six primary schools in three districts of Haryana were the sites of semi-structured interviews with teachers and classroom observations. Our research suggests that teachers were mostly deficit-oriented in their thinking, but they also demonstrated a willingness to discuss topics related to disabilities and a respect for education for children.
Exclusionary practises were intensified for kids with impairments, and they struggled in their classroom procedures to accommodate the requirements of diverse learners. Teachers highlighted the lack of suitable and effective support systems while refusing to accept responsibility for the education of students with disabilities and expressed grave concerns about their own preparation. In order to provide high-quality education, the article finishes by highlighting the urgent need for effective teacher professional development opportunities and other support systems.
So GRAPHHENE FOUNDATION took an initiative to provide quality education to disable children and include them as normal kids. So we invite everyone to join the graphhene foundation and be a part of it.