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Challenges in Inclusive Education: Role of Teachers

  • Published
    29th Jan, 2024

Context:  Inclusive education in India faces multiple challenges, particularly the shortage of special educators, and emphasizes the need for equipping general teachers to work with children with disabilities.

  1. Special Educators:

- UNESCO Report: Children with disabilities in India reach around 79 lakh, while registered special educators are only 1.2 lakh. Lack of cross-disability training, unclear regulations, itinerant employment, inadequate support, limited job opportunities, and low pay contribute to discontent among special educators.

- Separate Bodies: The separation between National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) and Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) requires a reassessment of teacher training programs to bridge the gap.

- Common Foundation and Stereotypes: Both general and special educators should share a common foundation rooted in genuine care for children and a commitment to their learning. Eliminating tags that confine teachers to rigid spheres encourages a collective responsibility among all teachers, parents, and the community.

  1. Responsibility of General Teachers:

   - Growing Population: The increasing number of children with disabilities places the responsibility on general teachers who lack training in special education.

   - Challenges Encountered: General teachers often lack specialized knowledge, skills, and face apprehension and fear in accommodating unique needs.

   - Beyond Technological Tools: Innovation includes actions that enable teachers to respond creatively, spontaneously, and adaptably to the challenges of inclusive education. The challenge of inclusion requires the active involvement of all stakeholders, particularly teachers, as meaningful contributors to the lives of all children.

  1. Limitations and Challenges:

   - Affordability Issues: Many schools cannot afford special educators or establish inclusive infrastructure, leading to challenges in accommodating children with disabilities.

   - Excuses and Mindset: The absence of special educators is sometimes used as a convenient excuse, perpetuating the misconception that only they can support such children.

   - Existing Legislation and Schemes: Despite schemes and legislation like Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, RTE Act, RPWD Act, and NCFTE, the primary responsibility for educating children with disabilities still falls on special educators.

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