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Bridging the gap in inclusive education

Teacher support a child with low vision to read a notes
© CBM India
A student with low sight vision undergoing a learning session with a remedial aid at an extra class

CBM India is developing a module for teachers based on its inclusive education project in government schools. CBM India recently organised a multi-stakeholder consultation in Bengaluru from July 13 to 15, 2015 for developing a shared vision for this important resource.

Full participation in the mainstream schools is critical for inclusion and empowerment of children with disabilities. The Right to Education Act, 2009, mandates that ‘every child’ with any form of disability must receive ‘meaningful and quality education’.

However, despite a strong emphasis on implementation, there is a long way to go before this becomes a reality.

One of the many challenges for inclusion of children with disabilities in the mainstream schools is that there are no standard practices or established methodology to guide the regular teachers. There is a need to demonstrate how inclusive education works in schools where children with disabilities and children without disabilities study together. With such a resource being available, teachers will be able to find solutions, based on the local context, using evidence-based practices.

Though there has been a relatively strong emphasis on the issue of access, there is a need now to focus on the issue of quality of education and learning for children with disabilities. Informed teachers and an inclusive methodology are vital for making this shift happen.

A shared understanding

As a part of its advocacy on inclusive education in schools, CBM India recently organised a multi-stakeholder consultation in Bengaluru, Karnataka, to develop a shared understanding towards the challenges around inclusive education.

The three-day consultation focused on developing training resources, drawing from real experiences, for teachers to educate children with disabilities within the settings of mainstream classrooms. A number of experts and representatives from education and disability organisations, departments of education, National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT) and Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) came together for this from July 13 to 15, 2015.

The consultation highlighted a gap that exists in terms of sharing of existing models and experiments by organisations and individuals working on addressing the challenge of inclusive education in mainstream schools.

A wide range of issues were covered during the consultation, some of these included, teaching methodology, evaluation process, physical education, home-based education, pre-vocational skills, dealing with children having multiple disabilities, disability specific intervention in classroom settings, enabling technology and the role of parents and community members

Learning from practice

A number of case studies shared at the consultation showed how students with special needs have become a part of the mainstream education with only a few modifications in the teaching methodology and remedial learning alongside the regular classroom education.

Several presenters dispelled the misconception that children with disabilities cannot study in a regular classroom setting, while adding that it is possible for any school to adopt an inclusive education approach. 

CBM India works with a range of stakeholders to enable children with disabilities to enjoy their right to education in a non-discriminatory and inclusive environment. It has a rich experience of implementing inclusive education methodology in schools as a part of the Community Based Inclusive Development project in Karnataka. The project is operational across 45 government schools, reaching close to 800 children with disabilities. The impact, however, is much wider as the project is part of the inclusive development approach that works with families, communities, self-help groups, and partners. 

The ideas and learning that came from discussions at the consultation will pave the way for creation of a standard manual for inclusive teaching methodology and curriculum for use in government schools.  CBM India will develop this important resource while working closely with district-level education department for wider advocacy. 
While India has made significant improvement in primary education enrolment, the figures for children with disabilities who are out of school are staggering, says 'Fixing the Broken Promise of Education for All: Findings from the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children’, a report produced by UN.

Out of 2.9 million children with disabilities in India, 990,000 children aged 6 to 14 years (34 percent) are out of school, according to the report jointly commissioned by Unesco and Unicef. The percentages are even higher among children with intellectual disabilities (48 percent), speech impairments (36 percent), and multiple disabilities (59 percent).

"India has made tremendous efforts to make its education system more inclusive. Under the Right to Education Act, all children have the right to go to school....To accommodate a greater number of children with disabilities, further progress is needed," it said.
Thumbnail for video "Highlights of 2nd T20 World Cup for blind 2017 finals" Thumbnail for video "Highlights of 2nd T20 World Cup for blind 2017 finals"

Highlights of 2nd T20 World Cup for blind 2017 finals

The highlights of T20 World Cup for the blind finals held at Chinnaswamy Stadium Bengaluru, India


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