D.N.I.S. News Network, India: Disabled Rights Group (D.R.G.) has written to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (M.S.J.E.) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (M.H.R.D.), strongly opposing the proposed Amendments Bill to the Right to Education (R.T.E.) Act, which includes a clause on home based education.
D.R.G. has learnt that the Amendments to the R.T.E. Act are now in their final stages and that M.H.R.D. plans to introduce them in the Parliament, in the Budget Session. The section on home based education, which is now a part of the Amendments, was neither in the Act earlier, nor in the earlier version of the Amendments. This clause/section has been added supposedly after the matter was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
Javed Abidi, Convenor, D.R.G. along with Radhika Alkazi, a noted expert on the subject, met with Anshu Vaish, Secretary, School Education, Anita Kaul, Additional Secretary and others from M.H.R.D. to discuss this issue. Home-based education, if introduced, will have a detrimental effect on the lives of children with severe disabilities.
Children with disabilities are the largest group of out of school children. The practice of home-based education was initiated by Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan as a ‘pathway to inclusion’. However, there is no data that can substantiate as to how many children with disabilities were mainstreamed after being in home-based education.
There is a huge likelihood that if home-based education were to get legal sanctity, it would further faster social isolation and exclusion of children with disabilities. R.T.E. Act seeks to change the paradigm of education through systemic changes and it is deplorable that by labelling millions of children with disabilities as ‘uneducable’ in mainstream schools, the State is shirking its responsibility.
D.R.G. is strongly opposed to such a regressive step, especially since India has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (C.R.P.D.).