Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Delhi Govt. focuses on students with disabilites in Govt. Schools- thanks to Working Groups with NGOs.

Dear Colleagues,

Delhi Govt's decision to form working groups in association with NGOs has resulted in some renewed focus on the learning outcomes of students with disabilities studying in various govt and aided schools in Delhi. I call it a step in right direction by the Kejriwal Govt. which has been experimenting several programs to ensure that students with disabilities were truly included in schools. Its Department of Education (DoE) had formed 7 working groups in association with leading NGOs working on inclusive education to address the issue of quality education for all in Govt. Schools. 

This constructive & participatory process assures all of us that things are going in right direction despite initial hiccups and several challenges. The special educators have been asked to prepare IEP (Individualized Education Program) for each child with disability with short term and long term goals to be reviewed periodically. The teachers are also given flexibility to review & modify the module. The support of multi-disciplinary team like therapists, counselors,  educators etc is also being proposed to be made available.

The challenges that still remain is many schools do not have required number of special educators. Class Teachers also need to be trained and involved in the child's learning and the responsibility shouldn't be just shifted to the special educators completely. This would not result in true inclusion.  Parents also have a larger role in child's development & should be involved in supplementing IEP at home. But this is also a challenge as many of them are working and do not have time to support children's education.

However, I am sure the working groups with the support of expert NGOs would take this challenge further and take this program of inclusion to a gradual success. I would be very keenly following this experiment on inclusive & quality education with measurable learning outcomes of children with disabilities (children with special needs)  in Govt. schools. This experiment deserves accolades and is worth emulating in rest of Indian states given its participatory approach with a focus on inclusion!

Here is the Tribune Report on the same.

Special education programme for the disabled in govt schools

Every disabled child studying in Delhi Government run and aided schools will now get personal attention with the AAP government asking special educators to prepare an individualised education programme (IEP).

"Special educators placed in government run and aided schools have been asked to prepare an individualised education programme for every disabled child in their care. The IEP will include instructions on the teaching procedure as well," a senior official of the Directorate of Education (DoE) said.

There are around disabled 20,000 children enrolled in government schools at present.

"We have asked the special education teachers to prepare the IEP of each child with special needs (CWSN) within 15 days, the format of which should cover everything from basic requirements to extra-curricular activities.

"Teachers will have the liberty to modify any particular child's module as per requirements. The educators will not only record the type of special need but also associated conditions, languages spoken and referral to other services -in case the child needs services such as physiotherapy," the official said.

After identifying the problems, the educators will set both short-term and long-term goals for each child.

DoE officials had recently formed seven working groups in association with various NGOs working for children with special needs.

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