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Govt to include children with special needs under its ‘education for all’ initiative

New Delhi, Dec 18 : The Government of India is implementing the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) as the main programme for universalising elementary education for all children from 6-14 years of age and this covers children with special needs (CWSN), according to a release by the Ministry of HRD.

The release said, “SSA provides for two resource persons at the Block Resource Centre (BRC) exclusively for CWSN, 20910 resource persons are currently engaged under the SSA. There is no prescribed ratio of trained teachers for CWSN including children with learning disabilities as the focus of SSA is on providing inclusive education to CWSN in mainstream schools. 14488 general teachers have been specifically trained under SSA on learning disabilities during 2014-15. To further facilitate the inclusion of CWSN in mainstream schools, the National Council for Education Research and Training has prepared books on curricular adaptations for children with visual impairment, hearing impairment, cognitive impairment and intellectual impairment for general teachers at primary and upper primary levels. 1.26 lakh teachers under SSA have already been trained on this exemplar material during 2014-15. Regular parental counselling programmes are also conducted under SSA for parents of CWSN, and 5.31 lakh such parents have been given training during 2014-15.”

Section 3 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 provides for free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age. This also includes children with learning disabilities. Section 29 of the Act mentions all round development of the child, building up child’s knowledge, potentiality, talent and development of physical and mental abilities to the fullest extent through learning activities, discovery and exploration in a child friendly and child-centered manner and comprehensive and continuous evaluation of child’s understanding of knowledge. Section 30 of the Act states that no child shall be required to pass any Board examination till completion of elementary education. All these facilitate inclusion of children with learning disabilities in regular schools.

As per Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 every child is entitled to free textbooks under SSA. Moreover, CWSN are also provided assistive devices and educational material free of cost. During 2014-15, under SSA, 2.60 lakh CWSN have been provided assistive devices and necessary educational material like communication boards, daily living skill kits, augmentative and alternative communication tools etc.

At the Secondary level, the Government is implementing the scheme of Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shikha Abhiyan (RMSA) with an objective to enable all students with different abilities who have completed eight years elementary education, an opportunity to complete four years of secondary schooling.

At the secondary level, necessary education material is provided in Government and Government aided secondary schools. The IEDSS scheme provides access to learning material ensuring that each student with special needs will have access to learning material like textbooks, audiotapes, talking books and textbooks in large print, as per the individual requirement.

The Kendriya Vidyalayas have a provision of horizontal reservation of three percent in admissions to promote the inclusion of students with special needs.

In Kendriya Vidyalayas all teachers are being trained to deal with various learning disabilities among the students. 11607 teachers have attended short term and long term training programmes as on 31.03.2015. Besides, as on 02.06.2015, out of 1128 Kendriya Vidyalayas, 402 Kendriya Vidyalayas have appointed counsellors to ensure facilitation of learning of all students and sensitization of teachers, students and parents.

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