October 29, 2020
IE – INCLUSIVE EDUCATION / CWSN
Inclusive education means children with special needs and regular children learning together in ordinary pre-school provision, schools, colleges and universities, with appropriate support as per their needs. Inclusion means enabling pupils to participate in the life and work of mainstream institutions to the best of their abilities, whatever their needs may be. For it to be effective, ordinary schools have to adapt their approach to:
- the curriculum,
- teaching support,
- funding mechanisms
- the built environment.
The children – whatever their difficulty – have a part to play in society after school. An early start in mainstream in playgroups of nursery schools, followed by education in ordinary schools and colleges, is the best preparation for an integrated life. Education is part of, not separate from, the rest of children’s lives. Special children can and are being educated in mainstream schools with appropriate support. There are many different ways of achieving this.
Special children have an equal right to membership of the same groups as everybody else. A segregated education restricts that right and limits opportunities for self-fulfillment. People with different needs or difficulties do not need to be separated or over -protected.
Inclusive education is a human rights issue. Many more children could be included in the mainstream with benefits to everyone. The process of inclusion in our context can be supported now by:
- A change in the attitudes of the community, parents and teachers.
- Putting into practice a stated commitment to the principles of inclusive education.
- Adapting initial and in-service training of teachers; supporting head teachers and educational administrators in these changes.
- Understanding that the greatest barriers to inclusion are caused by society, not by particular medical impairments.
The benefits of inclusion are two-way but most of us do not realize that. Segregation restricts our understanding of each other. Familiarity and tolerance reduces fear and rejection. Inclusive education contributes a great to the equality of opportunities for all members of society. The benefits also include opportunities and creativity that were not possible in the past. Research shows children do better, academically and socially, in inclusive settings. There is no teaching or care in a segregated school which cannot take place in an inclusive school. Commitment and appropriate support in inclusive education is a more efficient use of educational resources.
Segregation teaches children to be fearful, ignorant and breeds prejudice. All children need an education that will help them develop relationships and prepare them for life in the mainstream. Only inclusion has the potential to reduce fear and to build friendship, respect and understanding.
Inclusive education offers formidable difficulties not by the nature of the problem as by the lack of resource support in the state. The resource support at the state, district and zonal level is very little absent. The district is trying its best to enhance resource support so that the CWSN will be benefited in a better way. There are 935 special children enrolled in the schools but the way they cope up in the classroom situation, the kind of treatment they are receiving from the teachers, their achievement levels, the benefits they get from the facilities provided by the schools, all this as we know at present are not of a superior quality. Therefore, there is an urgent need of creating a very strong resource support base and a monitoring mechanism which shall not only keep track of such children who are outside the schooling system but shall also follow their progress in the schools and ensure good quality in regular schools. Unless that is done no amount of provisioning is really going to make any difference to their status.