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Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights reviews inclusive education

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In an effort to streamline and strengthen inclusive education, the Goa State Commission brought together Directorate of Education, District Early Intervention Centres (North Goa & South Goa), Institute for Psychiatry and Human Behaviour, Goa Medical College, State Family Welfare Bureau, Directorate of Social Welfare, Office of the State Commissioner for Disabilities and Sangath, for reviewing and strengthening the inclusive education on 4th April 2023 at the Conference Hall, Secretariat, Porvorim.

In the opening remarks, Peter F. Borges, Chairperson, GSCPCR, called for significant investment, proactive and innovative thinking, and putting a policy framework that will endure across government. Students with disabilities deserve the same access to a local school as all their peers do. Full inclusion is possible with the right funding and creating enabling environment.

The Commission has made a number of recommendations to the government to ensure that inclusive education becomes the norm. Firstly, it has been advised to the Directorate of Education to initiate an Educational Monitoring Information System for children with disabilities which will capture geographical location, types of disabilities, educational needs, proximity to facilities and other indicators to enable and plan for inclusion. This should include non-aided and private schools too. This will help identify barriers, plan for more facilities and avoid such instances where the children with disabilities faces mental trauma of being made wait or denied admission due to improper planning and facilities allocation by the state.

 

Further, it has been suggested that early intervention is the best way to support the development and wellbeing of children with disability, autism, or other additional needs including developmental delay. It can help children develop the skills they need to take part in everyday activities. Sometimes, children who get early intervention need less or no support as they get older. The Directorate of Education has also been asked to ensure a concentrated early intervention drive in collaboration with Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) to detect children in collaboration with, DEICs, PHCs, ICDS, ECCE centres and other school readiness programmes.

The Commission has recommended DoE to conduct access audit and ensure barrier-free environments, accessible buildings, classrooms, drinking water, toilets, playgrounds, laboratories, libraries, accessibility in terms of ramps with railings, colour contrast of black boards for visual impaired, enhancing acoustics through classroom designing and use of appropriate materials. The Directorate of Education has also been asked to conduct capacity building programmes to ensure continued development of skills and confidence of teachers and support staff in meeting the diverse range of children’s needs, as trained and motivated system is at the heart of effective inclusion, translating policy into practice.

The Directorate of Education has further been suggested to issue circular to schools to initiate disability certification at DEICs in elementary section at the age of 8 onwards for learning disabilities and slow learner and for intellectual disability before the age of 5. Further, it is recommended that DoE should change the time of submission of certificates in 10th standard from the current 9th standard to 8th standard. It should be communicated to schools that certification should not be seen for educational benefits and exemption, but to improve development through integrating family support, health, and nutrition services.

It has been recommended that the Directorate of Education issues a circular enforcing non-negotiable principles by pronouncing a separate code of conduct towards not providing admission to children with disabilities, including children with sensory disabilities viz., hearing impairment, visual impairment and deaf blind, in regular school (aided and unaided) through penalization.

The Commission further recommends to Directorate of Education to enhance human resource, i.e., special educators, home based educators; infrastructure, especially resource rooms, i.e., increase of life skill resource rooms and effect change in ratio (from 1:8 to 1:4) for life skill resource room and (from 1: 20 to 1:15) for academic resource rooms.

The Commission has recommended to the Directorate of Education to enhance human resource, i.e., special educators, home based educators; infrastructure, especially resource rooms, i.e., increase of life skill resource rooms and effect change in ratio (from 1:8 to 1:4) for life skill resource room and (from 1: 20 to 1:15) for academic resource rooms.

The Commission will develop a compendium of circulars and scheme and policy for inclusive education in consultation with stakeholders for streamlining and strengthening inclusive education.

Sonakshi Datta
Sonakshi Datta
Journalist who wants to cover the truth which others look the other way from.

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