Feature

Volume 4 Issue 11 - June 01, 2006

Salient Features of the proposed Scheme for Inclusive Education of the Disabled at Secondary Stage


Children with disabilities form one of the largest groups that are still outside the fold of the general education system. The proposed scheme by the Central Government for Inclusive Education of the Disabled at Secondary Stage (I.E.D.S.S.) is therefore envisaged to enable children and young persons with disabilities access to secondary education and to improve their enrollment, retention and achievement in the general education system.

Aims and Objectives:

The Centrally Sponsored I.E.D.S.S. Scheme aims to enable all students with disabilities completing eight years of elementary schooling an opportunity to complete four years of secondary schooling (classes IX to XII) in an inclusive and enabling environment; provide educational opportunities and facilities to students with disabilities in the general education system at the secondary level (classes IX to XII); and support the training of general school teachers to meet the needs of children with disabilities at the secondary level.

The objectives of the scheme will be to ensure that:

Every child with disability will be identified at the secondary level and his educational need assessed

· Every student in need of aids and appliances, assistive devices, will be provided the same

· All architectural barriers in schools are removed so that students with disability have access to classrooms, laboratories, libraries and toilets in the school

· Each student with disability will be supplied learning material as per her requirement

· All general school teachers at the secondary level will be provided basic training to teach students with disabilities within a period of three to five years

· Students with disabilities will have access to support services like the appointment of special educators, establishment of resource rooms in every block

· Model schools are set up in every state to develop good replicable practices in inclusive education.

Target Group:

The scheme will cover all children of age 14-18 + passing out of elementary schools and studying in secondary stage in Government, local body and Government-aided schools, with one or more disabilities as defined under the Persons with Disabilities Act (1995) and the National Trust Act (1999) in the age group 14+ to 18+ (classes IX to XII), such as Blindness, Low vision, Leprosy cured, Hearing impairment, Locomotor disabilities, Mental retardation, Mental Illness, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and may eventually cover Speech impairment and Learning Disabilities, etc.

Girls with disabilities will remain as special focus and efforts would be made under the scheme to help them gain access to secondary schools, as also to information and guidance for developing their potential.

Type of Scheme:

This is a centrally sponsored scheme under which the Central Government will assist the States/Union Territories in its implementation on the basis of the criteria laid down. Assistance for all the items covered in the scheme will be on 100 per cent basis but assistance for the programme would be subject to policy guidelines issued and initiatives to be taken by the appropriate government for implementing the educational provisions of the P.W.D. Act.

Components of the Scheme:

It is proposed to provide for educational facilities under this scheme for all children with disabilities that are included in general schools at the secondary and senior secondary level (classes IX to XII). The Scheme will include assistance for two kinds of components including (1) Student/Beneficiary-oriented components; and (2) Other components (e.g. those relating to infrastructure, teacher training, awareness generation, etc.).

For the first group of components, it is proposed to provide assistance to States @ Rs.3000/- per disabled child per annum, on the pattern of SSA which provides assistance @ Rs.1200/- per disabled child per annum for the elementary level. (This rate was fixed in 2001-2002). This amount of Rs.3000/- per disabled child per annum may be spent on the following components:-

1. Identification and assessment of children with disabilities. The assessment team may include an interdisciplinary expert team of special educators, clinical psychologists, therapists, doctors and any other professional support based on the students’ needs.

2. Provision of aids and appliances to all students with disabilities needing them, if these are not already being provided for through existing schemes like ADIP, State Schemes, voluntary organisations, Rotary clubs etc.

3. Access to learning material ensuring that each disabled student will have access to learning material as per her requirement like Braille textbooks, audiotapes, etc, textbooks in large prints and any other material needed.

4. Provision of facilities like transport facilities, hostel facilities scholarships, books, uniforms, assistive devices, support staff (readers, amanuensis).

5. Stipend for Girl Students with Disabilities Since Girl students with disabilities face discrimination, they, in addition to availing facilities under all schemes specially targeting girls’ education, will be given a stipend @ Rs.200 per month at the secondary level to encourage their participation up to senior secondary level.

6. The use of ICT: Access to technology is especially relevant for the disabled as it increases their access to a vast amount of information not otherwise available. Computers provided to students in secondary schools will also be made accessible to those with disabilities. The scheme will provide for the purchase of appropriate technology by way of special software such as speech recognition software and programmes to develop computer vocabulary for the hearing impaired and modified hardware like adapted keyboards.

7. Development of teaching learning material:-The scheme will cover the expenses incurred on organising the mobilisation of such support as certified by the School Principal/Educational Administrators. Financial assistance under this scheme will be available for purchase/production of instructional materials for the disabled and also for purchase of equipment required therefore. Wherever necessary, the available material will be translated and produced in regional languages. The scheme will also support workshops for adaptation in the curricular content and development of supplementary material, self-learning material for teachers and students at the secondary level of school education.

8. External support from an interdisciplinary team of experts such as educational psychologists, speech and occupational therapists, physiotherapists, mobility instructors and medical experts has to be coordinated at the local level. Support can be made available at the cluster level and needs of children with disabilities in a cluster of schools may be addressed. The expenses incurred on mobilizing such support in the form of TA/DA and consultancy fee will be covered under the scheme for children and young persons with disabilities at the secondary school level. Funds may be drawn from the child specific funds of Rs. 3000/- per child.

Costs of non-beneficiary-oriented components like teacher training, construction and equipping of resource rooms, creating model schools, research and monitoring, etc. will be covered separately. These components would be as follows:-

1. Removal of architectural barriers to ensure that students with disabilities have access to each classroom, laboratory, library and toilet in the school. A detailed manual laying out norms and guidelines for accessibility required by different types of disability will be developed at the central level with the help of the Office Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities (C.C.P.D.), and the Rehabilitation Council of India (R.C.I.). The scheme will support development of the accessible physical environment in existing secondary school buildings.

2. Training of general school teachers: All teachers at the secondary level will be trained in particular strategies like making educationally useful assessments, planning an individualized and different curriculum, teaching styles which include audiovisual aids, appropriate instructional strategies etc.

3. Orientation of principals, educational administrators: This training will include developing strategies for management of inclusive education. This will include teachers (both special and general), local educational administrators, and head teachers.

4. Strengthening of training institutions and assistance to existing organisation/N.G.O.s to develop teachers’ training programme in inclusive schooling and for educational interventions for specific disabilities.

5. Provision of resource rooms and equipment for the resource rooms in one school per block/urban cluster: Norms in terms of size, accessible features will be developed with the support of relevant agencies at the Central and State level.

6. Appointment of Special Educators: Support from special educators will differ at the secondary level from that at the elementary level. Any school where the number of the children with disabilities is more than 5 at the secondary and senior secondary level will have one special educator. In accordance with this ratio the requisite number of special teachers will be appointed in schools (or for a cluster of schools) for children requiring special teacher support on permanent basis.

7. Creating Model Inclusive Schools in cooperation with appropriate Government and N.G.O.s so as to accelerate the process of education of children and youth with disabilities with initiatives from parents, teachers, community and respective governments. The Scheme will support models of inclusive schooling practices in cooperation with appropriate Government and NGOs so as to accelerate the process of education of children and youth with disabilities at the initiative of parents, teachers, community and respective governments. Norms will be developed at the central level with the help of relevant state and national level agencies, to provide the whole range of support for these schools. Funds for these will be charged towards the research component.

8. Administration, Research & Development, and Monitoring & Evaluation: These will form an integral part of the I.E.D.S.S. Scheme. The State Government/N.G.O.s will have to formulate proposals for designing and developing new assistive devices, ICT technology, teaching aids, special teaching materials or such other items as are necessary to give a child with disability equal opportunities in education. Every year 5 per cent of the funds available at the Central level will be earmarked for administration, innovative and R&D projects and monitoring and evaluation.

The scheme will provide funds only in cases where there are no other provisions for the items under other schemes operative at State/Central level.

Other support:

At the secondary level, all children with disabilities included under the general education system may not require adaptations in the teaching learning process and evaluation procedures. However there may be some who would require some adaptations. The States/U.T.s can take the support of special teachers, S.C.E.R.T.s, D.I.E.T.s, Special Schools, Resource Centres, Non-Governmental Organisations, State Boards and any other community institutions available at the local level for this purpose.

Adaptations in Examination procedures Some children with disabilities may require some adaptations in the evaluation procedures according to their special needs The existing evaluation procedures can be reviewed at the State level and modified accordingly.

Provision for alternative modes of examination for children and youth with disabilities should be considered and provided by the Boards of Examination. This is being visualised mainly as a process of issuing appropriate orders and notifications. Separate budget as such is not planned under the scheme.

Partnerships and Linkages:

Linkages with the different Ministries/Organizations like Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India, Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI); National Trust etc. will help in creating convergence of resources and funds for addressing the needs of children with disabilities. Coordination Committees at various levels i.e. State, District and sub- district levels will help the planning and implementation of inclusive education at the secondary level.

Regulations for Relaxation of Rules:

State Governments/U.T. Administrations/other implementing agencies will make provisions for relaxation of rules relating to admissions, minimum or maximum age limit for admission, promotion, and examination procedure so as to facilitate in improving access of children with disabilities to education.

Implementing Agencies:

The Scheme will be implemented either by State Governments directly or through State Implementation Societies created for the purpose which may be headed by the Education Secretary to State Government. States may involve Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) having experience in the field of education of the disabled in the implementation of the scheme.

Monitoring and Evaluation:

Appropriate structures will be established at the Central, State, District, and block and city level to ensure obtaining feedback from functionaries at different levels. At the national level, a comprehensive monitoring mechanism would be evolved in MHRD with involvement of National Apex level Institutes like the N.C.E.R.T. and N.I.E.P.A. and reputed voluntary organisations and individual experts.

Data on Enrollment and performance of children with disabilities at the secondary stage in proforma to be developed at the central level will need to be maintained by the states.

The State Governments will oversee the utilisation of money and collect the quantitative data, and prepare state specific report and forward it to the M.H.R.D. monitoring unit. State appointed local monitoring committees would follow the guidelines and use the common evaluation format. The monitoring arrangements will include both qualitative and quantitative data. In addition to monitoring, review exercises can be undertaken periodically. Parents and village education committees will be involved in the monitoring process especially qualitative aspects in schools.

Collaborations with S.C.E.R.T.s, State and District Resource Centres, block, cluster level resources will be developed for this purpose. University Departments, I.A.S.E.s and C.T.E.s will be involved wherever available.

THE MAJOR AREAS OF DIFFERENCE IN THE EXISTING SCHEME AND THE PROPOSED SCHEME ARE AS FOLLOWS:

Change in the nomenclature: The existing scheme is called “Integrated Education for the Disabled Children (I.E.D.C.)”.

The proposed scheme will be called scheme for “Inclusive Education of the Disabled at (IEDSS)”.

Scope: The existing scheme provides for educational facilities for the disabled children for their integration in the normal schools from Early Childhood Care and Education up to the senior secondary level.

The proposed scheme of I.E.D.S.S. plans to cover children only at the secondary stage (Classes IX –XII). Elementary & E.C.C.E. stages are proposed to be excluded as they are being covered under S.S.A. and I.C.D.S. respectively.

Types of disabilities: Existing Scheme covers the following categories of disabilities: OH, VI, Partially sighted and low vision, Hearing Impaired and Mentally Retarded.

The proposed Scheme will cover all disabilities defined in the Disability Act, and the National Trust Act, 1995. This would imply the following disabilities over and above those covered in the old scheme: Leprosy cured, Mental Illness, Autism, Cerebral Palsy and multiple disabilities. The new scheme may also cover learning disabilities after necessary consultations are held in this behalf.

Implementation: The existing Scheme is implemented through the State Government/U.T. Administrations/Autonomous Organisations of stature having experience in the field of education and/or rehabilitation.

In the new Scheme, proposals of the State Governments including those of NGOs will be submitted by the State Implementation Societies to the Ministry for consideration by the Project Monitoring Unit. Funds will be sanctioned direct to the State Implementation Society. There will be no direct funding of N.G.O.s at Ministry level.

Awareness programme: There is no provision in the existing scheme.

The proposed scheme will support programmes to develop positive community attitudes towards children with disabilities and to enhance respect for them. These programmes will include educating the local media, general teachers, parents of children with disabilities and community leaders about the changing views regarding the disabled, the relevance of inclusive education and the significance of promoting positive models or success stories. Financial assistance upto Rs.10,000 per programme is envisaged in the proposed scheme.

Research: There is no provision under the existing I.E.D.C. scheme.

The State Government/N.G.O.s would formulate proposals for designing and developing new assistive devices, I.C.D. technology, teaching aids, special teaching materials or such other items as are necessary to give a child with disability equal opportunity in education. Every year 5 per cent of the funds available at the Central level will be earmarked for innovative and R&D projects.

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