D.N.I.S. News Network - Following consultations with Non Governmental Organisations and stakeholders in the disability sector, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has released a revised Comprehensive Action Plan on Inclusive Education for Children and Youth with Disabilities.
Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh had presented the Action Plan, which had set the sector abuzz with anticipation, in Parliament on 21 March 2005. Since then, the Ministry has been interacting and consulting with experts, N.G.Os, Disability Rights Groups, Parents Groups, Parents Groups, Government bodies etc.
N.C.P.E.D.P. has taken up the task of seeking regional opinion and national consensus on the Action Plan by bringing together stakeholders, professionals and activists together. For this it has organised three Zonal Consultation, in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, and plans to soon hold a national consultation.
In a letter to National Centre for Promotion of Employment of Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.), Keshav Desiraju, Joint Secretary Secondary Education, said: “The feedback has given us food for thought and helped identify issues that need to be reviewed and worked on as we move towards a more inclusive education system for children and young persons with disability. The next step for us is to prioritise plan activities, and working out guidelines for the states. Based on framework of the draft plan, different departments in the ministry will now be working on plans for their sector.”
Detailing the revised Action Plan, the introductory note by the Ministry says: “The following framework of the Action Plan and list of activities has been developed as a result of the initial consultations. The plan covers the inclusion in education of children and young persons with disabilities. The different sectors to be covered in the plan are 1) Early Childhood Care and Education 2) Elementary Education 3) Secondary Education 4) Higher and Technical Education 5) Vocational Education.
The different departments at the Central level are in the process of developing their work plans. Roles and responsibilities for implementing agencies and their partners, the roles of NGOs, parents groups are also being drafted. Monitoring guidelines, success indicators etc. are also being reviewed. The role of special schools, special educators and other support professionals are being assessed within the changing scenario.
The Ministry has sought further suggestions on the revised Action Plan saying: “While appreciating general comments on the activities listed, the Ministry would especially welcome specific suggestions on the areas that need to be prioritised, good inclusive practices that are happening around the country and any details that have been overlooked. The plan needs to be seen as a work in progress and your suggestions will help the Ministry develop a framework for the inclusion of learners with disabilities in mainstream educational settings in the country.”