NCERT and Education of Disabled
The view point that the children with some kind of disability, whether sensory, physical or intellectual, are unable to participate in the regular school activities, has proven to be a myth.
Their integration has been the main issue even internationally while discussing the rights of the people with physical challenges for an appropriate education.
Ministry of Human Resource Development in India has proposed an Inclusive Education Scheme. The Scheme focuses on the needs of learners suffering from disabilities like visual impairment, speech and hearing impairment, locomotor disabilities, intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, autism and other neuromusculoskeleton and developmental disorders.
Efforts from NCERT
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has been working hard in this direction. It is an apex resource organization which responsively advises the State and the Central Government along with NGO’s and other national and international agencies on the academic matters of the children with special needs.
NCERT has been constantly working with UNESCO and been organizing regional workshops in order to assess the needs of Inclusive Education in various parts of the country.
NCERT in co-operation of UNICEF launched Project Integrated Education of Disabled Children in 1987. The project could be regarded successful as the enrolment of disabled children increased in regular schools.
Inclusive Schools for All
The National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE) was brought out by the NCERT. Its complete focus was on establishment of inclusive schools for all the pupils whether disabled or non-disabled and recommended the provision of quality education for all.
The task of research, development along with the responsibility of training and providing extensive activities for the education of children with special needs is undertaken by NCERT from time to time. Number of training, orientation and sensitizing programs are taken on the basis of the result of such research and development, the task of research, development along with the responsibility of training and activities.
NCERT keeps on addressing the problems and issues relating to the education of these children. Its Department of Education of Groups with Special Needs (DEGSN) works for the academic progress of children with disabilities and other marginalized and minority sections of the society. Existing program and the pace of their implementation is reviewed from in time. New initiatives and development of relevant material for teachers’ training are taken up frequently. Policy makers are instructed to sensitize and train the educators as well as the parents as and when required. Various strategies are adopted in order to provide equal opportunities to all. Through this department, NCERT works in the area of capacity building of teachers, administrators and other stakeholders through EDUSAT facility.
A Proper Curriculum
Development of proper curriculum is also taken into account. Desired linkages are drawn with proper building of networks. It has been instrumental in bringing educational reforms as far as cumbersome procedures are concerned. Special attention to rural areas is paid.
It has proposed through its research programs that sign language needs to introduced at the primary school level. Projects to train teachers have been taken to make the sign language a medium of instruction for the hearing impaired children. .
NCERT has been working towards developing an index of inclusive schools in the country. This would prove to be useful in building and supporting the program of mainstreaming and integrating the students facing physical challenges. It has been a collaborating agency in the project for providing guidelines for the training of teachers so that they may be able to cater to the diverse learning needs of these children in mainstream classrooms countrywide.
A special guide book has been developed for the educators to evaluate the children with physical challenges in inclusive kind of set up. All these constructive steps and efforts by the NCERT are expected to bring positive results in the education of children with special needs and we all are hopeful for a brighter tomorrow where we would be able to see the sunshine of success for these children.