In this article we are going to discuss what policies and provisions are made for inclusive education in India.

we will discuss about following Policies, Commissions and Acts-

Kothari Commission (1964–66)

National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986

Integrated Education of Disabled Children (IEDC)

Plan of Action (POA), 1992

Rehabilitation Council of India Act (RCI–1992)

Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights & Full Participation)

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)

  Kothari Commission (1964–66) and Inclusive Education

  • In response to the recommendation of Kothari Commission (1964-66), Government of India formulated National Policy on Education in 1968 which reiterated most of the recommendations of Kothari Commission and suggested the expansion of educational facilities for physically and mentally handicapped children, and the development of an integrated programme enabling handicapped children to study in regular schools.

 NATIONAL POLICY ON EDUCATION 1968 and Inclusive Education

Equalization of Educational Opportunities –
  • Strenuous efforts should be made to equalize educational opportunity.
  • Regional imbalances in the provision of educational facilities should be corrected and good educational facilities should be provided in rural and other backward areas.
  • To promote social cohesion and national integration in the common school system as recommended by the Education Commission should be adopted.
  • Effort should be made to improve the standard of education in general schools.
  • All special schools like Public schools should be required to admit students on the basis of merit and also to provide free studentships to prevent segregation of social classes.
  • The education of girls should receive emphasis, not only on grounds of social justice but also because it accelerates social transformation.
  • More intensive efforts are needed to develop education among the backward classes and especially among the tribal people.
  • Educational facilities for the physically and mentally handicapped children should be expanded and attempts should be made to develop integrated programmes enabling the handicapped children to study in regular schools.

Integrated Education of Disabled Children (IEDC)

The objective of integrated education for the disabled children takes a real form when the Union Ministry of Welfare, Government of India launched the centrally sponsored scheme of Integrated Education of Disabled Children (IEDC) in 1974.

The centrally sponsored scheme of Integrated Education of the Disabled Children provides

  • Educational opportunities for the disabled children in common schools,
  • To facilitate their retention in the school system, and also to place in common schools, such children already placed in special schools after they acquire the communication and the daily living skills at the functional level.

 

Project for Integrated Education for the Disabled (PIED)

In 1987, to fulfil the provisions for disabled children in the NPE (1986), the government launched the Project for Integrated Education for the Disabled (PIED). It was a joint venture of MHRD and UNICEF. It states wherever feasible, the education of children with motor handicaps and other mild handicaps will be in common with that of others‘.

National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986

Government of India brought out a National Policy on Education in 1986, and a revised policy frame in 1992 with detailed strategies to make elementary education available to all.

This policy brought the fundamental issue of equality into main concern. Section 4.9 of the policy clearly focuses on the needs of the children with disabilities.

It states, ―The objective should be to integrate the physically and mentally handicapped with the general community as equal partners, to prepare them for normal growth and to enable them to face life with courage and confidence.

The following measures will be taken in this regard: some of the major concerns of this policy are:

  • Wherever it is feasible, the education of children with motor handicaps and other mild handicaps will be common with that of others;
  • Special schools with hostels will be provided, as far as possible at district headquarters, for the severely handicapped children;
  • Adequate arrangements will be made to give vocational training to the disabled;
  • Teachers ‘training programmes will be reoriented, in particular for teachers of primary classes, to deal with the special difficulties of the handicapped children and
  • Voluntary effort for the education of the disabled will be encouraged in every possible manner.

Plan of Action (POA), 1992

The Plan of Action adopted by the Government of India in 1992 set pragmatic principle for children with special needs.

  • It postulated that a child with disability who can be educated in a general school s should be educated in a general school only and not in a special school.
  • Even those children who are initially admitted to special schools for training in plus curriculum skills should be transferred to general schools once they acquire daily living skills, communication skills and basic academic skills.

Rehabilitation Council of India Act (RCI–1992)

  • The Plan of Action got momentum with the enactment of the Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992.
  • The Plan of Action was lacking behind in mechanism in the country to standardize and monitor the training of special educators and other rehabilitation professionals in the country.
  • Therefore, to fulfil the requirement, the Parliament of India enacted the Rehabilitation Council of India Act in 1992. This act was then amended in 2000 to establish a statutory mechanism for monitoring and standardizing courses for the training of 16 categories of professionals required in the field of special education and rehabilitation of persons with disability.
  • Thus, the training of special educators and resource teachers that can offer support services to children with disabilities in regular schools was the main task of this Act.

Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights & Full Participation) Act, 1995

  • The most landmark legislation in the history of special education in India is the Persons with Disabilities (Equal opportunities, protection of rights & full participation) Act, 1995.
  • This comprehensive Act covers seven disabilities namely blindness, low vision, hearing impaired, loco motor impaired, mental retardation, leprosy cured and mental illness.

Chapter V (Section 26) of the Act, which deals with education, mentions that the appropriate Governments and the local authorities shall:

  • Ensure that every child with disability has appropriate access to free education till he attains the age of 18 years;
  • Endeavour to promote the integration of children with disability in normal schools;
  • Promote setting up of special schools in governments and private sectors for those in need of special education……;and
  • Endeavour to equip the special schools for children with special needs with vocational training facilities.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Inclusive Education:

SSA has been operational since 2000-01 in partnership with state governments to achieve the goal of Universalization of Elementary Education.

This adopts a ZERO rejection policy and uses an approach of converging various existing schemes and programmes.

It covers the following components under education for children with disability –

  • Early detection and identification.
  • Functional and formal assessment.
  • Education placement.
  • Aids and appliances.
  • Support services.
  • Teacher training.
  • Resource support.
  • Individual Educational Plan (IEP).
  • Parental training and community mobilisation.
  • Planning and management.
  • Strengthening of special schools.
  • Removal of architectural barriers.
  • Research.
  • Monitoring and evaluation.
  • Girls with disability

The Right to Education Act, 2009 and Inclusive Education:

  • The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, commonly known at RTE Act, 2009 was finally passed by the parliament on the 26th August, 2009 (notified on February 16, 2010 to come into effect from April 1, 2010).
  • This act puts the responsibility of ensuring enrolment, attendance and completion on the government.
  • The RTE Act tries to safeguard the rights of the children belonging to the disadvantaged groups and the weaker sections, protect them from any kind of discrimination and ensure their completion of elementary education.
  • As per Amendment in the RTE Act (2010), children with disabilities have been included in the definition of child belonging to disadvantaged group in the Section 2(d) of the RTE Act. The landmark step mentioned in this Act that Section 12(1/C) mandates for private unaided and specified category schools to admit at least 25% of its entry level class from children belonging to weaker and disadvantaged groups.