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Understanding Inclusive Practices in Schools across various States in India

The above study which was supported by DDP, UK was completed by compiling case studies which document practices adopted in different states, both rural and urban and within different types of schools, both government and private. This study also reflect specific interventions in terms of strategy, resource support measures as curriculum adaptation etc, school   level policies, accessibility, to enable learning of all children and to make class rooms inclusive and learner friendly. The study also   looked at   the role of special school   and the changes they have undergone in order to make inclusive education.

Aims:

  • Look at micro level interventions happening within schools to understand how children with disabilities are being included
  • Study specific interventions in terms of strategy, resources and need-based interventions, particularly curriculum adaptation, resource support measures, school level policies, accessibility measures – both physical and attitudinal
  • Document and showcase what has been tried, what works and what are the challenges involved

Methodology:

  • Review of literature
  • Listing schools
  • Preparation of interview guides and Pre-testing
  • Data Collection
  • Writing case studies

Eight examples of how schools have tried to become inclusive.

  • Lady Andal School, Chennai
  • JSS School, Bangalore
  • Government School and the Block Resource Centre in Masturi Block, Chhattisgarh
  • Inclusive School of ADAPT (Able Disabled All People Together), Mumbai
  • Kindle Care High School, Hyderabad
  • Muktangan, Mumbai
  • Government Main Higher Primary School (GMHPS), Ramanagara, Karnataka
  • Model Primary Government School, Teacher Training Institute (TTI), Kerala

Observations, Learning and Recommendations

  • There are diverse forms in which inclusion is being translated into practice.
  • A strong commitment of the school management to inclusion is a prerequisite, building capacities of schools to provide for the diverse pedagogical needs of children is equally critical.
  • Given the complex needs of growing children, particularly those with disabilities, schools are often unable to serve the holistic needs of children. Schools may either focus on one or two aspects of the child’s development, often due to resource constraints.
  • Learning material was prepared by teachers based on the requirements of children, the learning objectives, resources available and their own training and experience. Resource material developed by schools remains an internal resource and needs to be shared widely
  • Inclusion is essentially a multi-disciplinary exercise and the schools that have been able to tap such resources and expertise are able to bring about qualitative improvement in what is offered. There is a need to invest in creating multi-disciplinary teams at least at the block level attached with the Block Resource Centres.
  • Inclusion is seen as a systemic response. It was the responsibility not only of the special resource teachers but also that of the regular teachers.
  • The location, space, significance, role and functions of the resource centre within the school system needs to designed carefully so that the resource centre is an integral and organic part of the school with strong interface and overlaps with the regular classroom processes.
  • Evolving specialised pedagogies as per children’s individual needs is an important challenge for schools to address. There is also a need to include this is the pre-service and in-service teacher training curriculum.
  • The presence of special schools should be seen as an important resource support by regular schools within the neighbourhood and the government should support building of these special schools as special resource centres.
  • Teachers multi-task all the time and pressures on them are huge. Some even lack formal training. There is need to find opportunities for refresher training on an ongoing basis and establish support systems like networks.
  • Schools also shared with us the difficulties in responding to parental expectations especially when parents are in the denial mode and expect the children to perform and achieve competencies like other children just because they are in an inclusive setting.
  • There is a need to build systems for sustainability and consolidation before closure of any large programme, which is almost the life-line of inclusion in government schools.
  • There is a need for schools to show a greater degree of openness and readiness to accept children with certain disabilities and conditions (cerebral palsy, ADHD, autism) and a stronger case for the government to invest resources, technology and personnel that can provide the required support.
  • Case-studies also showcased the importance of using co-operative learning through peer support in the education of children with disabilities.
  • School leadership is one of the most important factors required for building inclusive schools. One of the main recommendations is to focus on developing school leadership that can adopt a whole school approach and commitment to inclusion.
  • Two pillars – there is a need for a great amount of investment from the government in terms of capacity building of the systems and ensuring that schools become inclusive. . At the social level, there needs to be a concerted effort to bring about attitudinal changes that respect differences and accept diversities in society and foster these values from childhood

Detailed Report in http://karnatakaeducation.org.in/KOER/en/index.php/Portal:Inclusive_Education ‘Understanding Inclusive Practices in Schools – Examples of Schools from India’ – 2010 – 2011, Edited by Ruma Banerjee, Dr.ArchanaMehendale & ManjulaNanjundaiah

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