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Decoded: Objectives Of Inclusive Education & Why It’s Needed

by John Milton
Inclusive Education

The late 1970s saw the rise of special education. Although it was thoughtfully created keeping in

mind the best interests of children with special needs, it has some drawbacks that began manifesting

later. A sense of isolation from the regular world is the most critical and negative effect of a distinct

special education. Now about 15 years into special education models, the need of inclusive education

has begun to evolve.

What is Inclusive Education?

Inclusive Education (IE) is a relatively novel approach to the education imparting process, and it puts

differently-abled children together with other children. The aim of IE is to achieve a teaching module

and harness teaching instruments that suit the needs of all types of students, thereby, eliminating the

need to segregate them.

Does Inclusive Education Hinder Regular Students?

IE modules are specially programmed to optimise the potential of every student at an individual level.

As a result, IE helps children, special ones on priority to think and voice out their thoughts. They are

encouraged to not only be more creative but also bravely and confidently demonstrate their individual

creativity. IE is not a zero-sum game for it is this programme that encourages regular students, as well

as those with special needs, to come together and join in the journey of education.

Where does India Stand?

UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics accounts for 80 per cent of India’s rural population belonging to a

zone that has no access to schools for children with special needs. According to a 2009 report by the

MHRD, around 8 million Indian children don’t get to go to school, and the top four reasons behind

this situation are poverty, casteism, sexism, and disability.

India’s first considerable attempt at inclusive education goes back to the year 1974, when the

Integrated Education for Disabled Children (IEDC) was formed. However, it failed back then due to

several shortcomings, such as:

  • Dearth of educators trained in IE programs.
  • The absence of a comprehensive IE program.
  • Lack of appropriate technical resources.
  • Lack of funds to facilitate the incorporation of special education into mainstream education.
  • Challenges with respect to transport for special needs children.

Other than the aforementioned, there were many other problems in terms of mismanagement, which is

unfortunately and understandably to be expected during any national-level change in a very

populated, developing country with diverse cultures. However, by the time IEDC was revised, which

was in 1992, it had overcome most of its issues. Despite the noble thoughts behind it, funding

remained a problem. Also, it has not been able to assist a considerable number of differently-abled

children who actually belong to the below-poverty line group. Remember, UNICEF’s Status Report

about Disability in India (2000) puts 30 million children in the range of disabilities with about 75 per

cent of the world’s disabled population living in rural parts of India.

Other agencies and policies serving as pillars for the Inclusive Education cause are:

  • National Education Policy, 1986.
  • World Declaration on Education for All, 1990.
  • The Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992.
  • Persons with Disability Act, 1995.
  • The National Policy for Persons with Disability, 2006.

Benefits & Need of Inclusive Education

One might wonder, how is inclusive education a good solution when it is already so difficult for

millions of students to access education of any form? Well, every child deserves education and

empowerment through education, and children with special needs perhaps do so more. It is high time

that we become aware of their needs and include them in the public narrative.

Benefits & Need of Inclusive Education for students with disabilities or special needs include:

  • A sense of belonging helps shape a positive personality.
  • Learning to network to be better integrated into professional fields.
  • Learning better behavioral skills through social initiations
  • Tapping into their full potential of skills and intellect.
  • Getting the opportunity to participate in extra-curricular and co-curricular activities.
  • Increased exposure to help them explore their skills and interests.
  • Inclusion of families of special needs children into mainstream society.

Benefits & Need of Inclusive Education for students WITHOUT disabilities or special needs include:

  • Heightened sense of perspective (therefore increased IQ) through hands-on experience
  • associating with people with different needs than theirs.
  • Increased patience and behavioural control through cooperation.
  • Increased empathy and heightened emotional intelligence.
  • Understanding and acceptance of diversity integrate good manners from a young age.
  • Getting to study at their personalized level of skill and interest, thanks to the individualistic model of education.
  • Increased creativity (and general intelligence) due to associating with people who are wired differently than themselves.

After all, what is Inclusive Education if not a comprehensive approach that helps everybody in it?

Inclusion is about preparing all students to be better, do better, and therefore, get to live in an

environment that has a myriad of opportunities for every member.

Preparing Teachers to Provide Inclusive Education

There are Special Education courses certified by the Rehabilitation Council of India that make people

eligible to teach special needs children in an inclusive setting.

Other than that, here are some tips to conduct an IE class successfully.

1] Avoiding Jargon

Using simple sentences makes students find a teacher approachable while using grandiloquent words

isolates students even when they are physically present in the classroom.

2] Avoiding Asking for Volunteers

Asking for volunteers is harmful not only for special needs students but also for regular but shy

students. Calling students at random to participate is better. Apparently, it takes away their choice to

be active. But what it really does is not let special needs and shy children feel left out or lesser than

the more confident ones.

3] Assigning Roles for Practical Work

The more confident students tend to dominate group projects. Assigning roles helps everybody

participate equally without having to fight the other students for a spot.

4] Allotting Group Members

Allowing children to form their own groups for projects will make children choose people who are

like them. This will stunt their perspective elasticity of the mind. Allotting diverse members to each

group will help every group bring a lot of novel ideas to the project. It will also increase children’s

ability for critical thinking.

5] Avoiding Insensitive Remarks

This is a no-brainer but ableist or diminutive remarks like “retarded”, “dumb”, “lame”,

“handicapped”, and the likes must be avoided at any cost.

The purpose of IE is to integrate students with disability/neurodiversity/special needs into mainstream

education communities to help both, special children and mainstream students to mingle and together

grow beyond their limited perspectives. We need to teach without any disability to practice kindness,

patience, and good Samaritan behaviours towards the children who are born with disabilities. And to

do that we need to start bringing them under one roof so that they can help each other and become an

educated individual with each other’s help.

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