Right to Education

  • Category
    Society
  • Published
    16th Jul, 2019

Context

  • “State of the Education Report for India: Children with Disabilities” report has been released by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).
  • Report highlights accomplishments and challenges with regards to the right to education of children with disabilities (CWDs).

About

More on news:

  • The report highlights the number of CWDs enrolled in school drops significantly with each successive level of schooling.
  • There are fewer girls with disabilities in schools than boys with disabilities.
  • According to UNESCO, India is home to 8 million CWDs, and 45% of them fail to attain literacy. Globally 15% of people are disabled.
  • The report states that in India, 75% of five-year-old with disabilities and a quarter of CWDs in the age group of five to 19 years do not attend any educational institution.
  • 20% of children with visual and hearing impairments had never been in school.
  • A large number of CWDs do not go to regular schools but are enrolled at the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).
  • According to this report, the attitude of parents and teachers towards including children with disabilities into mainstream education is also crucial to accomplish the goal of inclusive education besides accessibility to physical infrastructure, processes in the school, assistive and ICT technology and devices being essential resources.
  • The report recommends structural, funding and attitudinal changes to ensure that no child is left out of the Right to Education (RTE).
  • The RTE Act mandates enrolment, but not the provision of resources needed for the actual education of CWDs.

The vision of Inclusive Education

  • It is an international normative framework comprising the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), specifically SDG4 and the Agenda 2030.
  • The RTE Act 2009 and the Right of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act 2016 have helped create a comprehensive legal framework for inclusive education.
  • The operationalization of the legal provisions is primarily done through the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan which envisions inclusive education as the underlying principle of providing a continuum of education.

Report proposes a set of ten recommendations

  1. Amend the RTE Act to better align with the RPWD Act by including specific concerns of education of children with disabilities.
  2. Establish a coordinating mechanism under Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) for effective convergence of all education programmes of children with disabilities.
  3. Ensure specific and adequate financial allocation in education budgets to meet the learning needs of children with disabilities.
  4. Strengthen data systems to make them robust, reliable and useful for implementation and monitoring.
  5. Enrich school ecosystems and involve all stakeholders in support of children with disabilities.
  6. Massively expand the use of information technology for the education of children with disabilities.
  7. Give a chance to every child and leave no child with disability behind.
  8. Transform teaching practices to aid the inclusion of diverse learners.
  9. Overcome stereotypes and build positive dispositions towards children with disabilities, both in the classroom and beyond.
  10. Foster effective partnerships involving government, civil society, the private sector and local communities for the benefit of children with disabilities.

Steps taken by Government Bodies for CWDs

  • National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) created the Barkha – Graded Reading Series for children, which highlights the possibilities of Universal Design of learning.
  • It has developed two manuals on ‘Including Children with Special Needs’ for primary and upper primary stage teachers.

State of the Education Report for India: Children with Disabilities

  • It is one of UNESCO New Delhi’s flagship reports to be published annually.
  • Its main objective will be to monitor progress towards the education targets in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

  • It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture.
  • Its programmes contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.
  • It works so that each child and citizen has access to quality education. By promoting cultural heritage and the equal dignity of all cultures, it strengthens bonds among nations.
  • It fosters scientific programmes and policies as platforms for development and cooperation.
  • It helps countries adopt international standards and manages programmes that foster the free flow of ideas and knowledge sharing.

Way Ahead

  • There remains a significant gaps, even though successive government schemes and programs have brought large numbers of CWDs into schools.
  • More work is required in the field of assistive technologies, with particular attention paid to bridging the digital divide and overcoming equity concerns. For example, in a two-year research-cum-documentation project in the North East, sign languages operating in the region were compiled in a web-based application known as 'NESL Sign Bank'

Smagara Shiksha Abhiyan

  • It emphasizes on increasing enrolment of CWDs in regular schools, removal of barriers, training of teachers, use of technology and it also provides for home-based education.
  • It expressly imagines the role of special schools as resource centres for general teachers who are required to teach children with disabilities.
  • It also envisages convergence among the different schemes and programmes for children with disabilities that are spread across various ministries and departments.

 

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