N for Nose: State of the Education Report for India 2019 : Children with disabilities
Sustainable Development Goals: 3, 4
- SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being
- SDG 4 - Quality Education
Inclusive education systems wherein each individual has equal opportunity for educational progress is a top global priority. India has adopted a rights-based approach to inclusion of children with disabilities by ratifying the UN Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Education systems that are designed to be inclusive, equitable and empowering can help build inclusive societies. This dynamic and organic connection between education and society lies at the heart of creating change and achieving social justice.One-fourth of the CWD population aged between 5 and 19 do not attend any educational institution.Among 5 year olds with disabilities, three-fourths do not go to any educational institution.
About the report
The past twenty years in India have seen significant legal and political commitments towards universalization of education and right to education. This report documents the considerable effort undertaken in the country to protect the right to education of children with disabilities (CWD), and outlines what remains to be done to achieve its full realization. Prepared by Tata Institute of Social Sciences and commissioned by UNESCO New Delhi, the report is based on extensive research of national and international literature and attempts to provide comprehensive information on the current status of education of CWDs, evidence of achievements and continuing concerns. It extensively draws upon a series of thematic research studies commissioned by UNESCO New Delhi between 2017 and 2018. The report has taken a participatory approach with contributions, in the form of case studies, from specialists and those working directly in the field. Feedback and suggestions from a series of peer-reviews conducted with key stakeholders have helped improve and complete the report.
Highlights: The vision for inclusive education
The international normative framework comprising the UNCRPD and the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 4 and Agenda 2030, provide a strong vision and a set of goals that have guided India’s processes of fostering inclusion in schools. The Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009 and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPWD) Act 2016 have helped create a comprehensive legal framework for inclusive education. However, there are a few ambiguities about where children with disabilities should study and who should teach them. Gaps remain in the form of appropriate norms and standards applicable to all educational institutions, services provided to CWDs, and the absence of a coordinated authority to enforce the norms and standards. The operationalization of legal provisions occurs primarily through Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan which envisions inclusive education as the underlying principle of education policy. While it focuses on increasing enrolment of children with disabilities in regular schools, removal of barriers, training of teachers and use of technology, it also provides for home-based education. It expressly envisions special schools as resource centres for general teachers who are required to teach children with disabilities. Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan also envisages convergence among the various schemes and programmes for CWDs that are spread across various ministries and departments. Implementation of the scheme through a coordinated effort, as envisioned, is yet to be operationalized.