Inclusive Education Policies and Programmes in India
Ø Till 1990s, 90% India’s estimated 40 million disabled children in the age group of four to sixteen years are being excluded from mainstream education.
Ø The overwhelming majority of them are vagabonds not out of volition but because of callous school managements and over-anxious parents of abled children in a travesty of humanity and social justice.
Ø They have consistentry discouraged children with disabilities from entering the nation’s classrooms.
Ø Social justice and equity which are dominant sentiments of the Constitution of India which came into force in 1950,demand that the disabled children should be given preferential access into primary and secondary schools.
Ø Fewer than five present of children who have a disability are in schools at present; remaining 95% of them are excluded.
Ø Against his backdrop of continuous neglect, Indian government started taking efforts to implement inclusive education since the year 2000.
} In India special education as a separate system of education for disabled children outside the mainstream education system was evolved way back in 1880s during the British Colonial Rule.
} The first school for the deaf was set up in Bombay in 1883 and the first school for the blind at Amritsar in 1887.
} In 1947, when India got its independence the number of schools for the blind increased to 32 for the deaf 30 and for mentally retarded 3.
} There was rapid expansion in the number of such institutions and the number of special schools rose to around 3000 by the year 2000.
} The Govt. of India in the 1960s designed a scheme of preparing teachers for teaching children with visual impairment.
} Similar schemes for teaching children with other disabilities were gradually developed.
} However the quality of the trained teachers was in question because of lack of uniform syllabi of various courses eligibility criteria for admission to these courses and also due to large extent of non-availability of teacher educators and literatures in the field.
} Therefore in 1980s the then Ministry of Welfare, Gove. Of India realized the crucial need of an institution to monitor and regulate the Human Resource Development (HRD) programmes in the field of disability rehabilitation.
} Though the number of special schools increased considerably they reached out to a very limited number of children, largely urban and they were not cost effective also.
} But most important of all these special schools segregated children with special needs from the mainstream thus developing a specific ‘disability culture’.