National Policy for Persons with Disabilities
The National Policy for Persons with Disabilities was released by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in February 2006. It has been realized that every child with disability has access to appropriate pre-school, primary and secondary level education by 2020. The major highlights of the Policy document with regard to the education of persons with disabilities are as under:
- Make schools (buildings, approaches, toilets, playgrounds, laboratories, libraries etc.) barrier free and accessible for all types of disability.
- Medium and method of teaching will be suitably adapted to the requirements of most disability conditions.
- Technical/supplementary/specialized system of teaching/learning will be made available within the school or at a common centre easily accessible to a cluster of schools.
- Teaching/learning tools and aids such as educational toys, Braille/talking books, appropriate software etc. will be made available. Incentives will be given to expand facilities for setting up of general libraries, e-libraries, Braille-libraries and talking books libraries, resource rooms etc.
- National Open School and distance learning programmes will be popularized and extended to other parts in the country.
- Sign language, Alternative and Augmentative Communications (AAC) and other modes as a viable medium in interpersonal communication will be recognized, standardized and popularized.
- Schools will be located within easy travelling distance. Alternatively, viable travel arrangements will be made with the assistance of the community, State and NGOs.
- Parent-teacher counselling and grievance redressal system will be set up in the schools.
- There will be separate mechanism to review annually the intake and retention of the girl child with disability at primary, secondary and higher levels of education.
- Many children with disabilities, who cannot join inclusive education system, would continue to get educational services from special schools. Special schools shall be appropriately re-modeled and reoriented based on technological development.
- These schools will also help and prepare children with disabilities to join mainstream inclusive education.
- In some cases due to the nature of disability (its type and degree), personal circumstances and preferences, home-based education will be provided.
- Course curriculum and evaluation system for children with various disabilities shall be developed keeping in view their capabilities. Examination system will be modified to make it disabled friendly by exemptions such as learning mathematics, learning only one language, etc. Further, facilities like extra time, use of calculators, use of
- Clarke’s tables, scribes etc. would be provided based on the requirement.
- Model schools of inclusive education will be set up in each State/U.T. to promote education of persons with disabilities.
- In the era of knowledge society, computers play very important role. Efforts will be made so that every child with disability gets suitably exposed to the use of computers.
- Children with disabilities up to the age of 6 years will be identified and necessary interventions made so that they are capable of joining inclusive education.
- Educational facilities will be provided in psychosocial rehabilitation centres for mentally ill persons.
- Many schools discourage enrolment of students on account of their disability due to lack of awareness about the capabilities of disabled persons. Programmes will be taken for sensitization of teachers, principals and other staff members in all schools.
- Special Schools presently being supported by the ministry of Social Justice and
- Empowerment will incrementally become resource centres for inclusive education.
- Ministry of Human Resource Development shall open new special schools depending upon the requirement.
- Adult learning/leisure centers for adult with severe learning difficulties will be promoted.
- Three percent reservation for persons with disabilities in admission to higher educational institutions shall be enforced. Universities, colleges and professional institutions will be provided financial support to establish Disability Center to take care of educational needs of students with disabilities. They will also be encouraged to make classrooms, hostels, cafeterias and other facilities in the campus accessible to students with disabilities.
- Include a module in induction and in-service training programmes of teachers on issues relating to management of children with disabilities.
- The ministry of Human Resource Development will be the nodal Ministry to coordinate all matters relating to the education of persons with disabilities.
Education of children with special needs (NCF 2005)
The national curriculum framework for school education (NCFSE) (2000), brought out by the NCERT, recommended inclusive school for all without specific reference to pupil with Special Educational Needs (SEN) as way of providing quality education to all learners.
Though in India there is no formal or official definition of inclusion, but the draft scheme on
Inclusive Education uses the following definition:
Inclusive Education means all learners, young people-with or without disabilities being able to learn together in ordinary preschool provisions, schools, and community educational settings with appropriate network of support services (Draft of Inclusive Education Scheme, MHRD, 2003)
National Curriculum Framework (2005) A policy of inclusion needs to be implemented in all schools and throughout our education system. The participation of all children needs to be ensured in all spheres of their life in and outside the school. Schools need to become center that prepare children for life and ensure that all children, especially the differently abled children from marginalized sections, and children in difficult circumstances get the maximum benefit of this critical area of education (NCF 2005, P85)