By Dr. Arundhati Hoskeri
Director and Management Representative
MET Rishikul Vidyalaya, Mumbai
Every child is unique in his or her own way, differently abled or gifted but all the children are to be treated equally.
Inclusive Education is nothing but an education imparted without discrimination of caste, creed, sex or physical status. The differently abled children come together to acquire knowledge and education in the same class room. This policy is based on a belief that education is the birth right of every individual and nobody can be denied of this right.
Children come from diverse backgrounds and they may differ from one another in their physical abilities, mental capacity and even have different styles of learning but they enjoy all the privileges together. They remain in the same classroom; participate in all the activities of learning as other children do.
As per right to education act (RTE) in India, no school can reject admission to any child on any grounds of discrimination and children are not to be segregated or labeled at any point of time before or after admission. Each class room has to be an inclusive class room welcoming all types of learners and allow them to participate in different learning activities.
Advantages of Inclusive Education
• Children learn to respect their own individuality and also that of others.
• Students enhance their emotional quotient as they develop patience, tolerance and compassion for their peers.
• They learn to accept the strengths and weaknesses of others.
• When children involve in helping their peers they not only derive immense satisfaction out of it but often strike lifelong friendships with them.
• India is a cultural mosaic that strives for unity in diversity and an inclusive school provides opportunities for playing together, learning together, being together and growing together with diverse communities.
• Children learn team work and collaboration in inclusive schools.
Role of School/School Leader
• Infrastructure should be planned for accommodating all types of learners. For example; provision of elevators or ramps would be helpful to accommodate physically challenged children.
• Large class rooms and playground attached to school would bring down issues of indiscipline as children can release their pent up emotions.
• All the teachers need to be trained in various teaching strategies to satisfy different types of learners (oral, auditory, visual and kinesthetic) so that learning becomes meaningful for every student in the class.
• Teachers need to be trained in designing their lessons to cater to different styles of learning of their students.
• Teachers need to be sensitized to handle all the children with compassion by respecting individualities in children.
• Introducing ‘Buddy System’ or ‘Peer Strategy’ in classrooms makes children responsible and helpful to each other and learning transaction becomes better.
Concept of inclusion in education does not confine merely to classroom walls or school compound but it brings about changes in the attitude of children and adults towards their life in general. One learns to accept the strengths and weaknesses of others and get along with each other. This ability to adjust and adapt is a valuable trait needed in every individual so that they develop excellent interpersonal skills and live in harmony. Such an attitude helps in understanding each other and can solve majority of relationship problems faced in today’s world. In this way children develop their emotional intelligence.