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Resource id #4 Make schools barrier-free; focus on inclusive education for disabled children: C.B.S.E - Volume 3 Issue 11: Disability News and Information Service for India

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Volume 3 Issue 11 - June 01, 2005

Make schools barrier-free; focus on inclusive education for disabled children: C.B.S.E

DNIS News Network - The Central Board of Secondary Education (C.B.S.E) has directed affiliated schools to undertake serious measures to make education inclusive, and infrastructure barrier-free, for children with disabilities.

The directive by C.B.S.E. Director of Academics, G. Balasubramanian, urges the schools to take stock of the global shift “away from special schooling to mainstream schooling of children with disabilities.”

The stress, in the circular, on need for an integrated schooling system, and not segregation of children with disabilities via the obsolete special schools, is in line with demands by stakeholders in the disability sector.

Further, the circular asserts that the Ministry of Human Resource Development was committed to making all schools across the country disabled-friendly.

Listing a six-point recommendation, the board says, “Disabled students should have barrier-free access to all educational facilities and services in the school including hostels laboratories and buildings.”

On special measures to make the learning and teaching process more in sync with needs of children with disabilities, it says, “Special attention may be given for the availability of appropriate study material for the disabled. Talking textbooks, reading machines and computers with speech software may be progressively introduced and made available.”

The circular has also attempted to address the issue of specific disabilities, while urging the schools to take necessary arrangements.

“Steps may be taken to provide adequate number of Braille books in the school library…support services like sign language interpreters, transcription services and loop induction system may also be progressively provided for hearing handicapped students,” it says.

Transportation being one of the key problems faced by students with disability, the guidelines have also urged schools to ensure "adequate and appropriate'' transport facilities to help students with special needs.

Admitting that teaching staff lacked training to handle needs of children with disability, the circular stresses on organising in-service training programmes in inclusive education at elementary and secondary level.

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