India’s New Education Policy (2020) has replaced its 1986 education policy and ensures to address all issues of neglected dimensions in education for persons with disabilities. The main highlights of this policy for the Children With Special Needs are discussed as under:
1. NEP recognizes the importance of creating enabling mechanisms for providing Children With Special Needs (CWSN) or Divyang, the same opportunities of obtaining quality education as any other child.
2. Children with disabilities will be enabled to fully participate in the regular schooling process from the Foundational Stage to higher education.
3. The Inclusive Education as a ‘system of education is stressed upon wherein students with and without disabilities learn together.
4. While preparing the National Curriculum Framework, NCERT will ensure that consultations are held with expert bodies such as National Institutes of DEPwD.
5. Schools/School complexes will be provided resources for the integration of children with disabilities
6. Recruitment of special educators with cross-disability training for children with severe or multiple disabilities shall be taken in hand.
7. Barrier free access for all children with disabilities will be enabled.
8. Assistive devices as well as teaching-learning materials will be made available.
9. NIOS will develop high-quality modules to teach Indian Sign Language.
10. Adequate attention will be paid to the safety and security of children with disabilities.
11. Home-based education will continue to be a choice available for children with disabilities who are unable to go to schools and they shall be treated as equal to any other child in the general system.
12. Assessment and certification agencies, including the proposed new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH, will formulate guidelines for conducting assessment, from the foundational stage to higher education in order to ensure equitable access and opportunities for all students with learning disabilities.
13. The awareness and knowledge of how to teach children with specific disabilities will be an integral part of all teacher education programmes.
In conclusion, the above reforms/changes can help children with disabilities get increased access to quality education, employment, health and other services, and develop a better awareness of their rights, thereby improving their quality of life, subject to a well-planned implementation of the policy.
The writer is Principal (I/C), Abhedanana Home (Higher Secondary Institution for Specially abled Children) Solina, Srinagar, [email protected]