Tuesday, February 1, 2011

‘Inclusive education lays the foundation to an inclusive society’ -Dr.K.Govindaraju

Inclusive education lays the foundation to an inclusive society’ -Dr.K.Govindaraju
Trichy, 29, Jan: ‘Inclusive education lays the foundation to an inclusive society’ said Dr.K.Govindaraju,Chairman,Tamilnadu Board of Continuing Education while addressing a training session to special educators and rehabilitation functionaries working in the field of inclusive Education for Differently abled or children with special needs in Trichy on Saturday. He further said that in its broadest and all encompassing meaning, inclusive education, as an approach, seeks to address the learning needs of all children, with a specific focus on those who are vulnerable to marginalization and exclusion. Education is a fundamental human right of the child. Governments across the globe are deliberating on workable policies and practices to make education for all a reality within 2015. ‘It is also an attempt to provide an opportunity for improving human capabilities of all children. It implies all learners, - with disabilities being able to learn together through access to common pre-school provisions, schools and community educational setting with an appropriate network of support services. This is possible only in a flexible education system that assimilates the needs of a diverse range of learners and adapts itself to meet these needs. It aims at all stakeholders in the system (learners, parents, and community, teachers, and administrators, policy makers) to be comfortable with diversity and see it as a challenge rather than a problem. The recent study has shown that Inclusive education results in improved social development and academic outcomes for all learners. It leads to the development of social skills and better social interactions because learners are exposed to real environment in which they have to interact with other learners each one having unique characteristics, interests and abilities. The non-disabled peers adopt positive attitudes and actions towards learners with disabilities as a result of studying together in an inclusive classroom’ said Dr.K.Govindaraju

He further added that inclusive education lays the foundation to an inclusive society accepting, respecting and celebrating diversity. IED programme running currently supporting mainstreaming of disabled children are the Inclusive Education for Disabled Children (IED). He also said’The plan concurrently focuses on enrollment of children with disabilities and creating an enabling educational environment to support the inclusion process through review and adaptations in curricula, capacity building among various groups ranging from policy makers to education administrators, teachers and parents groups. Pre service and in-service training of mainstream schoolteachers will a prime focus with the disability component included in all teachers training programme. Recognizing the importance of early intervention in the first five years of life for skill development and learning, Early Childhood Care and Education sector will be seen as an entry point for education for children with special needs. Identification, enrolment and retention of children with special needs in the age group 6-14 will continue as part of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’.

‘Existing support and delivery systems developed as part of the ongoing programme will be reviewed and strengthened. Providing physical access by removing architectural barriers in schools and assistance for transportation will be given priority. Removing attitudinal barriers through a range of mass awareness programmes is expected to give a further thrust to the enrollment programme by creating a demand from the parents’ side. The Trichirappalli district of Tamil Nadu stands out in addressing all facets of the programme. One especially noteworthy feature is the authorities’ collaboration with the South Zone Board of Continuing Education a unit of SEVAI to achieve education for all children with disabilities much ahead of deadline. It is a general conviction in the district that once this most difficult group is brought under the umbrella of educational services; the overall target could be reached effectively. The South Zone Board of Continuing Education has been underlining the importance of creating a rights-based, barrier-free, and inclusive society. The integrated family system and community living make inclusion a natural phenomenon’ commended Dr.K.Govindaraju.

He further said that SEVAI organization been working for the Children with Special Needs (CWSN) (since 1995. ‘In this endeavor it has touched many milestones with its IED team and strong network of 106783 SHG members. We follow many innovative strategies to fulfill the needs of Children with special needs along with SHARVA SHIKSHA ABIYAN - INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR THE DISABLED (SSA-IED) since 2002 -03.The Disability Division in the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment facilitates empowerment of the persons with disabilities, who as per Census 2001 are 2.19 crore and are 2.13 percent of the total population of the Country. These include persons with visual, hearing, speech, locomotor and mental disabilities. Under Article 253 of the Constitution read with item No. 13 of the Union List , the Government of India enacted "The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995", in the effort to ensure equal opportunities for persons with disabilities and their full participation in nation-building. India signed the UN Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities External website that opens in a new window on 30th March, 2007, the day it opened for signature. India ratifies the UN Convention on I st October, 2008.Inclusion is the term used for a combination of students of many abilities into one classroom setting. In the inclusive setting, students with special needs are grouped with students in regular educational programs without distinction between the two groups. An inclusion classroom often has two teachers--a regular educator and a special educator. The students in an inclusion classroom come with a variety of abilities, from special needs to regular educational needs. Students with special needs are entitled to a full, free, public education just like their peers in regular educational programs and settings. The inclusion classroom provides a setting for these students to interact with their peers of all ability levels, thus most accurately mirroring the real world outside of school. Students in regular education classes often do not even realize that they are part of an inclusion setting. The inclusion setting provides these students with an opportunity to interact with students who may have different ways of learning or different abilities; again, mimicking the real-world experience for these students as well.DISABILITY, this Means Inability to do something like that of a normal human being due to physical or mental barrier. Disability in one of the body functions is compensated by increased ability in another one. Hence the disabled people are being called as Differently abled or Diffabled or Children with Special Needs (CWSN).The Govt has decided to include the Children with Special Needs (CWSN) (mild and moderate) with mainstream education by enrolling them in the normal nearby normal schools, after rehabilitating them through various measures’ claimed by K.Govindaraju.

‘REHABILITATION, it is a process of bringing back an individual to normal or near normal life after an accident or illness. Ways of rehabilitation, 1. Surgical correction of deformities, 2. Provision of aids and appliances, 3. Physiotherapy, 4. Speech therapy, 5. Counselling. The Persons with Disabilities Act was enacted during 1995.To give equal opportunities for the disabled and to protect their rights in order to integrate them with the normal society to enable them to have full participation in the normal life. WELFARE SCHEMES FOR THE DIFFERENTLY ABLED collaborated effort with Government. Issue of Identity Cards. Issue of Welfare Board Identity Card, Special Education through Special School, Scholarships for the Differently Abled students, Readers Allowance for the Visually Challenged students,1/3rd Subsidy for Self Employment, Inclusive Education for DISABLED, Day care centre for in rural areas, Bus Pass to travel within the district,75% concession to travel within the State, Maintenance Grant to Severely Disabled persons, Maintenance allowance for Muscular dystrophy, Maintenance grant to Intellectual challenged, Supply of Aids and Appliances, Marriage Assistance Scheme, Vocational Training Programme, Early Identification and intervention for Hearing Impaired, Early Identification and intervention for Intellectually Challenged, Feeding Grant for the Residential Special schools, Staff Salary for Special teachers.SEVAI has identified 3341 CWSN and enrolled 2112 in 10 blocks of Trichy district. This process has been successfully achieved with the help of following strategies, Door to door survey conducted by special teachers, Information gathered through strong network of 106783 SEVAI-SHG members, Through DDRO, VEC members, VHN, ICDS workers and various youth clubs, According to the extent of disability, identified CWSN were enrolled in the nearby normal schools (Mild and moderate CWSN) and special schools (Severe CWSN). Inclusive education has all along been an accepted approaches in general education in India, though the concept may sound recent. General classroom teachers handle slow, average and advanced learners - all in one class. This is ‘inclusive education’ based on cognitive abilities though usually not labelled so. In the case of children with visual and hearing impairments, the main similarity between them and normal children is their cognitive ability. This similarity supports the education of disabled children along with normal children in the general system. With the learning of ‘plus curriculum’ to cope with their particular disability, these children can also compete with normal children’ added Chariman, TNBCE.

‘The growth of the special school concept and the institutionalization of disabled children contributed to their ‘segregation’ from society at large. Special schools became residential homes, and the coming together of disabled persons increased their sense of security. However, notions that disabled people are special or that they have a sixth sense contributed to stereotyped exclusivist responses. In special schools subjects like mathematics and science were often neglected due to the presumption that blind children would find them difficult. This focusing on the ‘difference’ between disabled and normal children created sympathy towards the former that did not take into account their human right to general education. As a result, education of disabled children remained a welfare activity for decades. With special schools becoming costly, inclusive education is again gaining acceptance. In the past ‘inclusion’ was inevitable due to lack of facilities, but today it is being seen as a child’s human right to have education in the vicinity of his/her home. Therefore, revitalizing the general education system and strengthening the capacities of general classroom teachers to train disabled children are vital concerns currently. They have to be addressed before general education becomes truly inclusive. Good education realizes the fact that every child is special in some way or other and the purpose of learning is to optimize the child’s potential. Use of multi-sensory instruction in the classroom makes the teacher better and at the same time helps mentally challenged children and children with visual and hearing impairment. So the inclusion of disabled children depends on how effectively regular classroom teachers can teach. That is why teachers hold the key to creating an inclusive environment in the school’ Dr.K.Govindaraju concluded.govin

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