In current scenario of education, getting admission in a school is very tough. It is furthermore tough for a child having special needs to get admission in a formal education system with inclusive education. Though there is a reservation earmarked in Schools for children with special needs as per Disabilities Act, 2016 imposed by Government of India, but there is a large difference between the total need for education of children with Special Needs and actual number of admissions each year.
The below study will depict a focused picture on the situation:
As per Census 2011, in India, 2.21% out of the 121 Crore population, i.e. 2.68 Crore persons did have varied kind of “Disabilities/ Special Needs”. Recently, in 2018, National Institute of Survey conducted a survey to bring out the updated figure, which brought out that 2.2% of total population in India was having disabilities/ special needs. This means, the population of disability people increased to 2.87 Crore in the year 2018 as compared to 2.68 crore in the year 2011. Out of this, school going age group population (0 to 19 years) with special needs is having a total count of 78.7 Lakhs approx in India. And every year, the count is increasing.
Further to above, few alarming facts are highlighted here as follows:
- 55% of the stated population with disabilities/ special needs is illiterate
- 54% of disabled children with multiple disabilities never attended educational institutions
- 50% of the children with mental illness never attended educational institution.
- Among persons with disabilities of age 15 years and above, only 19.3 per cent had highest educational level secondary and above.
- Approximately, 43.2 Lakh children with disabilities/ special needs are not attending schools.
- Every year this requirement of education adds up almost for approximately 2 lakhs of children with special needs.
- Children with disabilities/ special needs, who are lucky to get education, approximately 70% of them are getting education from NIOS (National institute of Open Schooling).
Requirement of Special Education for Children with Special Needs:
Now, the question may come, do the children with special needs actually need education?
In view of this, the National Policy for persons with disabilities (2006) recognizes that persons with disabilities are valuable human resource for the country and seeks to create an environment that provides equal opportunities, protection of their rights and full participation in society.
A number of International commitments and guidelines came into effect in the recent past targeting the welfare of the disabled persons. India is a signatory to the ‘Declaration on the Full Participation and Equality of People with Disabilities in the Asia Pacific Region’ (2000). India has ratified the ‘UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities’ (2008). India is also a signatory to the ‘Biwako Millennium Framework‘(2002) for action towards an inclusive, barrier free and rights based society. The ‘Biwako Plus Five (2007): further efforts towards an inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based society for persons with disabilities in Asia and the Pacific’ added the emphasis. The Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific (2012) provides the Asian and Pacific region and the world with the first set of regionally agreed disability inclusive development Goals. The Incheon strategy will enable to track progress towards improving the quality of life, and the fulfilment of the rights, of the region’s persons with disability. The Sustainable Development Goals (2015) pledges for ‘leaving no one behind’. Recognizing that the dignity of the human being is fundamental, the SDGs wish to see the Goals and targets met for all nations and peoples and for all segments of society and to endeavour to reach the furthest behind first.
This study reveals that there is a huge requirement of education setups with inclusive education. Hence, more number of existing schools must participate in the movement to educate the population having special needs and more inclusive education schools in India are to be setup.
People with disabilities are vulnerable because of the many barriers we face: attitudinal, physical, and financial. Addressing these barriers is within our reach and we have a moral duty to do so. But most important, addressing these barriers will unlock the potential of so many people with so much to contribute to the world. We can no longer overlook the hundreds of millions of people with disabilities who are denied access to health, rehabilitation, support, education and employment—and never get the chance to shine.
In view of the above, Soulful Steps is taking a dedicated initiative to setup Kolkata’s first Multipurpose school, with an exclusive school unit only for Children with Special Needs/ disability & a separate multidisciplinary higher secondary school with inclusive education, i.e., with comprehensive Special Education Needs (SEN) support, all within the same campus.
Let's join hands together to spread the eduation amongst the Children with Special Needs.
You can contribute any amount you feel good. Every such contribution, no matter what amount, will help “Soulful Steps” to put together for setting up the school.