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Education of children with special needs: What does the draft of the National Education Policy of 2019 hold?
In the draft National Education Policy (NEP-2019), it has been proposed that the Children with Special Needs (CWSN) or Divyang Children have right to 'the same opportunities of obtaining quality education as any other child'. For the CSWN, the preparation of Individualized Educational Plans (IEP) would be made mandatory.

The draft policy document reiterates its resolve to go by the RTE Act  that 'ensures CWSN free and compulsory education either until the completion of the elementary stage of school education or till the age of 18 years' as well  entitlement of 'children with severe and profound disabilities the right to opt for home-based education'.  The new policy bats for an 'Equitable and Inclusive Education' to make every child learn across the continuum of abilities

In the NEP-2019, it is being promised that specific additional initiatives will be undertaken to ensure that every CWSN receives meaningful and quality education  by the following actions:

-Inclusion of children with special needs in regular schools: One of the priority areas of action in regard to education programmes for CWSN will continue to be mainstreaming them in neighborhood schools and supporting their

participation in the schooling process from the Foundational stage through Grade 12.

-Physical access to schools for children with special needs will be enabled through prioritizing barrier-free structures, ramps, handrails, disabled-friendly toilets, and suitable transportation.

-Financial support for initiatives for educating children with special needs: Clear and efficient avenues for obtaining financial support will be provided to schools or school complexes for integration of CWSN, as well as for the
establishment of resource centres at the village/block level where needed for learners with severe or multiple disabilities - such centres would assist parents/guardians in part-time or full time home-schooling and in skilling
such learners (including in ISL or other local sign languages if they exist, and accessing provisions available through NIOS).

Development of assistive devices and appropriate technology-based tools, as well as adequate and language-appropriate teaching-learning materials along with research efforts to develop and test solutions that are effective in local contexts will be supported through NGOs and volunteer organisations who may wish to participate.

It being said that the NIOS will develop high quality modules to teach Indian Sign Language (ISL) and the instructional material to teach other basic subjects using ISL.

It has been envisaged that special educators and therapists with cross-disability training would be prepared to work with all schools. Furthermore, resource centres at the block level in conjunction with special educators at the school
l will support the rehabilitation and educational needs of learners with severe or multiple disabilities, and will assist parents/guardians in achieving high quality home-schooling and skilling for such students.

"It is the total revamp of the implementation system that is required which instead of ordering and preaching system becomes a support structure that promotes and facilitates learning of students," suggested a special educator in Jaipur.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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