Inclusive Education

In current scenario of education, getting admission in a school is very tough. It is furthermore tough for a child having special needs to get admission in a formal education system with inclusive education. Though there is a reservation earmarked for Children with Special Needs under Disabilities Act, 2016, Government of India, but a large difference is there between the total need for education of children with Special Needs and actual number of admissions each year.
The below study will depict a focused picture on the situation:
As per Census 2011, in India, 2.21% out of the 121 Crore population, i.e. 2.68 Crore persons are having varied kind of “Disabilities/ Special Needs”. Recently, in 2018, National Institute of Survey conducted a survey to bring out the updated figure, which brought out that 2.2% of total population in India is having disability. This means, the population of disability people increased to 2.87 Crore in the year 2018 as compared to 2.68 crore in the year 2011. Out of this, school going age group population (0 to 19 years) with special needs is having a total count of 78.7 Lakhs approx in India. And every year, this count is increasing.

Statistical figures:
Further to above, few alarming facts are highlighted here as follows:
  • 55% of the stated population with disabilities/ special needs is illiterate
  • 54% of disabled children with multiple disabilities never attended educational institutions
  • 50% of the children with mental illness never attended educational institution.
  • Among persons with disabilities of age 15 years and above, only 19.3 per cent had highest educational level secondary and above.
  • Approximately, 43.2 Lakh children with Disabilities/ Special Needs are not attending schools.
  • Every year this requirement of education adds up almost for approximately 2 lakhs of Children with special needs.
  • Children with Disabilities/ Special Needs, who are lucky to get education, approximately 70% of them are getting education from NIOS (National institute of Open Schooling).
The above figure shows that a majority of children with special needs do not get chance to have inclusive formal education, though there is a mandated reservation for such category from Government of India. This is because a very few schools are offering inclusive education for Children with special needs as they don't have proper infrastructure. And, another main concern is that the children with special needs & learning deficiencies are segregated from mainstream students, other regular routines and social activities that normal children are lucky to get.
Requirement of Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs:
Now, the question may come, do the children with special needs actually need education? Yes, study reveals that with appropriate opportunity and proper exposure in an inclusive environment helps Children with special needs to lead a better and prospective life.
In view of this, the National Policy for Persons with Disabilities (2006) recognizes that Persons with Disabilities are valuable human resource for the country and seeks to create an environment that provides equal opportunities, protection of their rights and full participation in society.
A number of International commitments and guidelines came into effect in the recent past targeting the welfare of the disabled persons. India is a signatory to the ‘Declaration on the Full Participation and Equality of People with Disabilities in the Asia Pacific Region’ (2000). India has ratified the ‘UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities’ (2008). India is also a signatory to the  ‘Biwako Millennium Framework‘(2002) for action towards an inclusive, barrier free and rights based society. The ‘Biwako Plus Five (2007): further efforts towards an inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based society for persons with disabilities in Asia and the Pacific’ added the emphasis. The Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific (2012) provides the Asian and Pacific region and the world with the first set of regionally agreed disability inclusive development Goals. The Incheon strategy will enable to track progress towards improving the quality of life, and the fulfilment of the rights, of the region’s persons with disability. The Sustainable Development Goals (2015) pledges for ‘leaving no one behind’. Recognizing that the dignity of the human being is fundamental, the SDGs wish to see the Goals and targets met for all nations and peoples and for all segments of society and to endeavour to reach the furthest behind first.
People with disabilities are vulnerable because of the many barriers we face: attitudinal, physical, and financial. Addressing these barriers is within our reach and we have a moral duty to do so. But most important, addressing these barriers will unlock the potential of so many people with so much to contribute to the world. We can no longer overlook the hundreds of millions of people with disabilities who are denied access to health, rehabilitation, support, education, and employment—and never get the chance to shine.
This study reveals that there is a huge requirement of education setups with inclusive education. Hence, more number of existing schools must participate in the movement to educate the population having special needs and more inclusive education schools in India is to be setup.