Access to education is a major challenge to special children in India. It’s a struggle that they face every day. Truly inclusive special children education is still a far cry in India, and even in the 21st century, they are expected to study in separate schools. Breaking into mainstream education is a tall order for most of them.
A major reason why inclusive education has not cut much teeth in India is the shortage of trained professionals. Lack of awareness, both of the parents and educators, is another reason in this regard. Also, parents of many neuro-typical children don’t want their kids to study with children having disabilities. India, unfortunately, is far behind both quantitatively and qualitatively, and has to learn from the best practices followed in the West.
Most schools in India are reluctant to hire special educators as they find their role negligible. Regular schools usually deny admission to children having learning disorders and physical disabilities. Special children education is far below in the list of priorities of most regular schools. According to norms, the ratio of special educators to children should be 10:1 and 5:1 at the primary and secondary levels respectively. But that’s hardly the ratio followed anywhere in India, except maybe in some metros.
Despite the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) issuing a notification to various school boards to hire permanent special educators, not many have amended their bylaws to make it mandatory for every affiliated institution to appoint special educators and counsellors.
The challenges to special children education can be reasonably resolved if employability is ensured to educators and allied professionals in the interest of the society.