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Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan applauded
The growth of special schools has led to segregation, explained Dr Mani while speaking on the issue of inclusive education at the two-day national consultation meet of Biwako Millennium Framework.
He cited examples of various education models used in India for children with disabilities, like residential schools, integrated education under resource room model, integrated education and inclusive education in general schools.
As special schools are costly and are also not able to provide education for all disabled children, inclusion is coming back to the system, he said. He further added how cost of education is a major concern in India and that inclusive education is the best option.
“While education for disabled children in the various models mentioned above ranges from Rs 7,000 to Rs 20,000 per child, the cost of inclusive education is as low as Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 per child,” he explained.
Most N.G.O.s felt that Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (S.S.A.) is an excellent framework and allows a lot of flexibility at the district level to adopt cost-effective and innovative strategies to include all children under the umbrella of ‘Education for All’.
With the thrust on inclusive education, the role of Indira Gandhi National Open University and National Open School was also discussed.
It was pointed out that there is a complete lack of writers for mentally disabled children and that salaries of special educators at special schools are extremely low and therefore there is a complete lack of trained teachers in such schools.
Rights groups recommended for providing more Braille and research material for visually impaired; for increasing the salary of special educators; for popularising S.S.A at district level; inclusive schooling for better education; better coordination between government and N.G.O.s; child-centered pedagogy; and increasing the budget allocation per child under S.S.A..