The Prayas ePathshala

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11 May 2024 – The Indian Express


Schools without any boundaries

UNESCO report for schools 2024:

  • According to the 2011 Census, seven percent of India’s kid population has CWD.
  • In India, about 70% of five-year-old children with impairments have never attended an educational setting.
  • As they become older, many CWD also have a tendency to drop out of school.

Accessibility impediments:

  • Facilities that are not available at schools, such as restrooms, canteens, and drinking water sources
  • Classrooms with inadequate infrastructure (slippery flooring, unpleasant seats, and dim lighting).
  • Parental, teacher, staff, and community misperceptions and attitudes.
  • Other issues include the absence of teaching and learning strategies that incorporate digital tools like assistive devices and inclusive technologies to engage the child.
  • During UN-Habitat India and IIT Kharagpur training sessions, accessible infrastructure in schools—like tactile walkways or ramps—is either lacking or wasn’t built using the right materials.

Various legislation to ensure that education is available to all:

  • The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009 established the fundamental right to education as well as the entitlement of children aged 6 to 14 to free and compulsory education.
  • A “zero rejection policy” was introduced by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
  • The statement highlights that “a meaningful and quality education is provided to every child with special needs, irrespective of the kind, category, and degree of disability.”
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was ratified by India:
  • 2015’s “Accessible India Campaign” (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) focused on improving built environment accessibility.
  • The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s core, game-changing promise is the Leave No One Behind (LNOB) principle.

What actions are necessary?

  • Programmes for raising awareness and sensitization among parents, carers, and children
  • Providing access to the most recent teaching resources and toolkits, as well as training instructors to upskill special educators and school administrators
  • Technical instruction for departments under local government
  • a co-learning environment where everyone can share information.

Education-related provisions found in the Constitution:

  • Ensuring fair and accessible education is mandated under the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP), namely Article 39 (f) and Part IV of the Indian Constitution.
  • Education was transferred from the State to the Concurrent List by the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution in 1976.
  • Article 21A: As a fundamental right, it guarantees all children between the ages of six and fourteen free and compulsory education in a way that the State may, by legislation, designate. Education became a legally enforceable right under Article 21-A of the 86th Amendment in 2002.
  • Article 39(f) guarantees children the chance and resources to grow up in a healthy way, in an atmosphere of freedom and dignity, and that childhood and adolescence are shielded from exploitation and from material and moral desertion.
  • Article 45: The State shall make every effort to offer free and obligatory education for all children until they reach the age of fourteen within ten years of the adoption of this Constitution.
  • ARTICLE 46: The State shall safeguard the economically and socially marginalised groups, notably the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, from exploitation and social injustice by giving special consideration to their educational and economic needs.

Governmental Programmes:

  • 2020 National Education Policy.
  • Shiksha Samagra (SS) 2.0
  • Bharat Mission NIPUN
  • PM Poshan Plan
  • Education district’s unified information system (UDISE).
  • Index of Performance Grading
  • The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 places a strong emphasis on acquiring fundamental literacy and numeracy skills, particularly for young students.
  • The government’s flagship scheme, “NIPUN Bharat,” which stands for National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy and is intended to put policy into reality, is starting to gain pace in a number of States.

The Way Ahead:

  • Encouraging every child to engage in all indoor and outdoor activities without hindrances or restrictions requires establishing a secure, dependable, and accessible school environment.
  • To effectively address all of these obstacles, collaboration, involvement, and sensitization from parents and carers, educators, administrators, and local government agencies are needed.
  • UN-Habitat’s mainstreaming of the LNOB project: with assistance from IIT Kharagpur and the Delhi government’s Department of Social Welfare, two schools in Delhi conducted pilot training sessions aimed at improving accessibility and inclusion.
  • through role-playing activities and interactive training sessions that promote empathy-building.
  • When it comes to making venues inclusive, it can really help.
  • Creating inclusive and accessible classrooms will be a significant step towards enacting the zero-rejection policy in schools as well as dispelling myths about CWD and the prejudice that goes along with it.
  • To guarantee that all parties involved in the school ecosystem collaborate to advance accessibility and inclusion in schools, a multifaceted participatory approach is required to create an environment that empowers future citizens.
  • Equitability, practicality and longevity, cost-effectiveness, cultural flexibility, and visual appeal.
  • They ought to be integrated across the entire infrastructure service delivery process in schools, from planning to execution to evaluation.

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