Relevance of inclusive education for children with special needs: in context to India and Uttarakhand
Kamal Chandra Gahtori
The concept of inclusive education has been incorporated into various national and international declarations, policies and Acts. At the National level NPE 1986, POA 1992, PWD Act 1995, PWD act 2016 gives basic policy framework for including children with special needs (CWSN) and providing access to free education in an appropriate environment to all learners with disabilities till they attains the age of eighteen years. The initial draft of National education policy (NEP draft- 2019) does not reflect any extraordinary effort made for the betterment of CWSN. There seems no major target or innovative idea to explore this program at national level. Although, section 3(2) of the RTE Act focus on the elementary education of children with disabilities. The component like SSA, RMSA and Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (2018-19 onwards), provides support for various student oriented activities which include identification and assessment of CWSN, provision of aids and appliances, corrective surgeries, Braille books, additional incentives and uniforms, therapeutic services, development of teaching-learning material (TLM), assistive devices & equipments, orientation programmes to create positive attitude and awareness among community, parents counseling, purchase/ development of instructional materials, in-service training of special educators and general teachers on curriculum adaptation etc. Targets have also been set under Sustainable Development Goals- 2030 (SDGs) and country is steadily moving towards inclusiveness and equitable quality education. We need to further understand the gaps in programmes and barriers to inclusive education. It is observed in census data of 2011 that the number of CWSN and their educational scenario very much depends upon the geographical conditions. As per Census 2011, there are 26.8 million PwDs (2.2 per cent of population) in India. The U-DISE data collected for 2017-18 of all schools in India claims 23 lakh children are suffering from various disabilities while in Uttarakhand 15214 (Enrolled 14150, Not enrolled 1064) children are identified in this category. Taking cognizance of this fact, inclusive education for children with special needs have been focused in this study on the basis of census data 2011 with reference to India and Uttarakhand state.