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Education Bill lacks focus on disability

DNIS News Network - Disability Rights Group, along with National Alliance For The Fundamental Right To Education (NAFRE), went on a sit-in protest against the government's proposed Free and Compulsory Education for Children Bill, 2003.

According to disability activists, the proposed Bill that aims to provide education for all has been myopic about education for all disabled children.

The Bill, although an attempt to operationalise the 86th Constitutional Amendment, which makes free and compulsory education for all between six and 14 years, a fundamental right, talks only about special schools for disabled children. It has no mention of an integrated education system, which has been an integral part of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA).

The Bill, if passed, will make special schools mandatory for disabled children, which is in clear violation of Disability Act 1995 which talks of integrated schooling as part of inclusion of disabled children in mainstream society, apart from special education.

SSA clarifies the need for integrated education and talks of special education only for children with severe mental and orthopaedic disabilities.

The activists in the disability sector demanded implementation of "common school system" to stop disparity in education; implementation of inclusive education programme to ensure equal opportunity and education facilities to deprived and disabled children; a comprehensive education policy for "common school system"; and allocation of 10 per cent of India's Gross Domestic Product to education.