In view of the constitutional commitment of providing free and compulsory education upto the age of 14 years irrespective of the abilities of children, SSA Chandigarh is striving hard to achieve this aim. Undeniably the Abhiyan extended various facilities to the children with special needs (CWSN) to facilitate the education of this special group of children.
As a step towards removing the barrier of exclusion for these Children with Special needs, Chandigarh SSA has initiated the process of including CWSN in the mainstream schools to make education accessible to this vulnerable group of children, their identification, assessment and proximity of schools is felt important. Therefore, following steps were initiated:
(a) Identification process of CWSN: -
The CWSN identified by RTs were then medically examined by the medical teams of Govt. Medical College and Hospitals, Sector-32 (GMCH-32) and Govt. Multispeciality Hospital, Sector 16 (GMSH-16) under Directorate of Health, UT Chandigarh in order to ascertain the degree and type of disability.
Table showing no. of CWSN covered in mainstream and home based education
b) Accessibility of schools to CWSN: - Access to schools can be viewed in two ways.
A) The number of schooling facilities within the habitation or within 1, 3, 4 or 7Km radius.
B) The number of schooling facilities per lac population.
The first principle is applicable to isolated and far flung areas which require availability of schooling facilities within the walking distance of serving area. Second principle is applicable for highly dense areas like Chandigarh in which a large number of schooling facilities already exist, yet the schools are not accessible for many children due to shortage of space, classrooms and barriers in school buildings.
(c) Medical assessment and distribution of aids and appliances to CWSN: - Supportive aids and appliances to 1008 CWSN help in making education accessible to CWSN. During 2012-13, supportive aids and appliances were distributed to CWSN with the help of various NGOs/ALIMCO/School Health Programme.
(d) Transport/Escort allowance to CWSN: - During 2012-13, 227 CWSN were provided transport allowance and 335 CWSN were provided Escort Allowance @ Rs.3000/- per child per annum.
(e) Home based Education: - Although various steps were initiated during 2012-13 for the inclusion of CWSN yet there is a group of CWSN who can not be mainstreamed in schools due to the severity of degree of their disability. As such in order to make education accessible to this section of CWSN, Home Based Education was started and during 2012-13, 158 CWSN were covered under Home Based Education. Efforts are being made mainstream these CWSN, 10 CWSN have been mainstreamed during the current year i.e. 2012-13 from HBE.
(f) School Readiness Centres:- 98 CWSN were covered in these centres and these CWSN are being imparted training with the help of Inclusive Education Volunteers (IEVs) and Caregivers under the guidance of Cluster Resource Co-coordinators and IERTs. Following additional support services were imparted in the School Readiness Centres, thus, enabling smooth transition from school readiness to mainstream:-
2. ACTIVITIES INITIATED FOR PROVIDING EQUALITY TO CWSN: -
In order to provide equality to CWSN and to create awareness among general public about the inclusion of CWSN in mainstream schools following initiatives were undertaken during 2012-13.
(a) Quarterly Meets with parents of CWSN
(b) Quarterly meets with teachers
(c) Summer Camps for differently abled children
(d) Celebration of World Disability day at Cluster level
(e) Excursion for CWSN.
(3) ACTIVITIES INITIATED FOR RETENTION AND PROVIDING QUALITY EDUCATION: -
(a) Curriculum Modification:- Modification of curriculum for MR children.
(b) Evaluation guidelines for CWSN
(c) Capacity building of General Teachers: Orientation programmes for school teachers, 90 days in service training programmes for school teachers.
(d) Learning Corners for CWSN
(e) Two days training for parents of CWSN.
(f) Support Services with the help of Special Resource Centres
(g) Therapy Camps for CWSN for special Resource Centre