Inclusive education is for all. The concept includes everyone, even those on the margins, and the target is to bring them into the mainstream. Integrated education is passé. It’s all about inclusion and that involves uniquely-abled children as well.
Let’s face it. No amount of awareness can change people’s attitude unless young people are exposed to each other and understand their friends’ strengths and weaknesses. Older people find it difficult to change their mindset. When children mix with their peers from diverse backgrounds, they become more tolerant in their outlook. They accept the differences. The culture of acceptance stays with them when they become adults.
The situation is better in some Indian cities where the respective state governments are spending money towards a more inclusive education of uniquely-abled children. It has gained momentum in the past few years with a number of schools appointing trained teachers to help special needs children.
However, inclusive education has not been much of a success in schools run by the government, regardless of the fact that they are more accessible to people. Unlike most private schools, government-run institutes don’t charge high fees. Space is also an advantage of these schools. Most classrooms lie vacant with the population of neuro-typical children on the decline. Even parents from the lower-income families today prefer to send their child to a private school.
The problem with government schools is with their curriculum. Whatever learning is imparted in the classroom has very little connection to meaningful learning.
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