Types of School- Mainstream, Special, Integrated and Inclusive

Types of School- Mainstream, Special, Integrated and Inclusive


Mainstreaming appeared as an alternative to traditional approaches to overcome the above mentioned disadvantages. Mainstreaming is an educational approach designed to end the segregation of exceptional children by keeping these children in the mainstream of educational system and providing them with broad range of educational alternatives. According to Stephens and Blackhurt, “Mainstreaming is the education of the mildly handicapped children in the regular class room. It is based on the philosophy equal opportunity that is implemented through individual planning to promote appropriate learning, achievement and social normalization.”


The very term “integration” signifies the process of interaction of disabled children and normal children in the same educational setting. Integrated education is an educational programme in which exceptional children attend classes with normal children on either full time or part time basis. Such a combination may be taken as social integration or academic integration. It is a broader concept which includes “mainstreaming”. The difference between the two terms is quite subtle. In mainstreaming, the normal school is letting the exceptional child be part of it. In integration, the normal school is the rightful place for the exceptional child to be in, learn and grow. But still the onus of adapting to the school environment lies largely with the exceptional child.

Inclusive Education

Inclusive education is concerned with removing all barriers to learning, and with participation of all learners vulnerable to exclusion and marginalization. It is a strategic approach designed to facilitate learning success for all children. It addresses the common goals of decreasing and overcoming all exclusion from the human right to education, at least at the elementary level, and enhancing access, participation and learning, success in quality basic education for all. (Education for all 2000 Bulletin, UNESCO, No.32, 1998)

The main elements of inclusive education are:

A human rights issue (Education for ALL children, not almost all).

Education of All in a School for All (disabled and non-disabled children learning together in regular schools: learning to know, learning to do, learning to be and learning to live together).

Togetherness (enabling all to participate together in society from the beginning, contributing to social harmony and stimulating the building of relationships among individuals, groups and nations)

Breaking barriers (familiarity and tolerance reduce fear, prejudices and rejection)

Inclusion can be realized by:

  1. Removing physical barriers posed by stairs, doorways, toilets, water faucets, and other architectural aspects imperative to accessing facilities in the school.
  2. Removing the barriers of the teaching system, by providing facilities for accessing information related to the curriculum, by the use of modern technology like computers using specialized software and by providing awareness, sensitivity and solutions for teachers.
  3. Removing the barriers of the examination system by providing means of free and fair evaluation of the students‟ knowledge irrespective of his/her sensory/physical status.
  4. Removing the barriers of attitude developed due to lack of awareness.

Thus, it is evident that inclusion encompasses the two concepts discussed earlier, namely, “mainstreaming” and “integration” and goes a step further by not only opening Its doors for ALL, but also with a promise to reinvent itself to accommodate them all with their special needs and requirements.

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