Barriers to Inclusion in School- with reference to Children with Special Needs
Created by bharatrouthcu on Fri, 2012-03-23 17:51
21st Century has witnessed tremendous shift in the perception and eventually on policy focus on addressing the (peculiar) issues of inclusion in schools for children with special needs. Now most of us want to see disable children to be in school and receive quality education. Towards this, both the government and non-governmental organizations have shown increasing interests – that they ensure mechanisms of inclusion for disable children. Against this quite hyped stated objective, there are significant problems that stand against its realization. This short blog here is just to give some idea on various apparent barriers towards realizing inclusion in our schools for children with special needs.
There are teachers and parents who yet believe that ‘dis-ability’ is God-given and attach this phenomenon with religious sentiments. Moreover, there are some teachers in our school who think that these children cannot learn. This claim often comes in pretext of teachers’ disinterest and lack of specialization to deal with these children in their classroom. Teachers’ specialization is required (which they deny) for making all children actively participate and methods of teaching for disable children should be appropriate. This goes without saying that teacher must aware about the special needs that these group of children require in school – which in turn might require teachers’ reflexive and rational mind to do their job well.
However, we still have problems with the school and provisions, i.e. classroom size (accessibility), drinking water, toilet etc. which very often are not disable-friendly. It is always a worry of parents thinking of their disable children attending school of how their child would be in the school – for example, how she would be managing! On the other hand, many politicians and planners claim that a disable-friendly school arrangement lead to higher economic costs. The unwillingness to spend additional cost on making an inclusive school is further aggravated by their age old held perception on disability. Here we find a second dilemma – which is more political in nature and nonetheless economic as well. Building special school is against the idea of inclusion – but for many (politicians) inclusion means including into education system – not necessarily into a common heterogeneous classroom. The priorities may be girls, weaker social groups, religion etc. but necessarily disable children come later.
Third, from inclusion perspective, many claim that the school is not ready for these children. School lack both trained teacher as well as appropriate infrastructure which in any case require accommodating these groups of children into our school system. However, against this idea, in the presence of strict curriculum, school says child is not ready for school. The dilemma of a strict and rigid curriculum is not new and there have been tremendous work on how curriculum transaction is a part of operating power relations between various sections and groups in education and society. Curriculum can be potentially exclusionary as well – if the children in question have to find it difficult.
Finally, we have what is called NGO dilemma. It is widely known that the role of NGOs in promoting and putting practices of inclusion in schools have been tremendous. At the same time, we too have stories of bad practices – many NGOs are placed to work as a profit-making body seeking funding from some prudent sources.