Challenges for Inclusive Schools

Emerging Issues and Curricular Concerns

To make inclusive education possible, and to better accommodate students with different learning abilities, the present education system, educational structure, and educational practices need to become more flexible, more inclusive, and more collaborative.

The Purpose

The purpose of inclusive education,

  • Is NOT the same as for a student without

Special Educational Needs (SEN)—that is, it IS NOT to bring students with Special Educational Needs up to the level of, or maintain their grades at the same level as, students without Special Educational Needs.

  • It IS to meet the individualized goals of students with Special Educational Needs, within the context of general educational settings and activities.

The following questions need to be addressed while making adaptations to the curriculum.

Can a student with Special Educational Needs participate in the classroom

  • Just like his/her classmates?
  • With environmental adaptations?
  • With instructional adaptations?
  • With adapted materials?
  • With adapted expectations?
 Early Intervention and Preschool Programme for Children with Special Educational Needs

The identification of Special Educational Needs of children at an early age is crucial to helping them cope with challenges in later life. Thus, the sensitization, orientation, and training

 Emerging Issues and Curricular Concerns

The following curricular issues and concerns have emerged within the Focus Group as a result of in-depth discussion and analysis of the existing scenario.

  • Making all options of education, such as, open schools, regular schools, special schools, non-formal and alternative education systems, available to all children including children with disabilities.
  • Developing strategies for meeting the educational needs of learners with disabilities in large classrooms.
  • Developing national support systems.
  • Understanding the significance of early identification and intervention.
  • Emphasizing good teaching–learning practices.
  • Making the curriculum flexible and accessible.
  • Utilizing technology and assistive devices.
  • Developing appropriate assessment and evaluation procedures.
  • Capacity building and empowering teachers and stakeholders.
  • Providing vocational education.
  • Identifying suitable sports and other co-curricular activities for optimal development of learners with SEN.
  • Barrier-free intervention/educational environment of parents, caretakers, and other stakeholders become imperative. As per the NSSO (2003), 8.4% and 6.1% of the total estimated households in rural and urban India, respectively, are reported to have at least one disabled person. Therefore, orienting Anganwadi and Balwadi workers, caregivers, and institutional authorities in early childhood education programmes is highly desirable and needs to be built into the ICDS programme.

The provision of resources and the involvement of the community in identification and intervention in the child’s own milieu need emphasis and focus. The benefits of existing knowledge and skills in conjunction with technology can be made to reach the needy through the involvement of local bodies. An Apang Samiti, consisting of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) schools, banks, station masters, post masters, etc. was formed which decides the priorities of the PWDs, including Children with SEN. Empowering the Town Panchayat through a catalyst can be critical for the success of the Early Identification and Intervention

Programme. A strong parent/caregiver professional partnership should be developed for the networking and strengthening of intervention programmes.

At the preschool level, a multisensory approach should replace oral and rote learning, facilitate language learning, develop pre-academic skills, and provide for remedial measures in all areas of development.

Appropriate diagnostic and remedial assessment should be made available to identify, “at risk” children.

Already developed curriculum packages (Mohite, 1994) for preschool children in communication skills, self-help skills, social skills, and specific motor skills may be used. Audio-visual packages for promoting skills in physical, motor, affective, cognitive, and language development of children “at risk” and with SEN may be utilized.

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