National Education Policy: NEP 2020

Highlights for CWSN

  1. NEP recognizes the importance of creating enabling mechanisms for providing CWSN, the same opportunities of obtaining quality education as any other child.

  2. Children with disabilities will be enabled to fully participate in the regular schooling process from the Foundational Stage to higher education.

  3. As Inclusive Education students with and without disabilities learn together.

  4. For National Curriculum Framework, NCERT will ensure that consultations are held with expert bodies such as National Institutes of DEPwD.

  5. School complexes will have resources for the integration of children with disabilities

  6. Recruitment of special educators with cross-disability training for children with severe or multiple disabilities shall be taken in hand.

  7. Barrier free access for all children with disabilities will be enabled.

  8. Assistive devices as well as teaching-learning materials will be made available.

  9. NIOS will develop high-quality modules to teach Indian Sign Language

  10. Attention to safety and security of children with disabilities.

  11. Home-based education will continue to be a choice available for children with disabilities who are unable to go to schools and they shall be treated as equal to any other child in the general system.

  12. Assessment and certification agencies, including the proposed new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH, will formulate guidelines for conducting assessment, from the foundational stage to higher education in order to ensure equitable access and opportunities for all students with learning disabilities.

  13. The awareness and knowledge of how to teach children with specific disabilities will be an integral part of all teacher education programs.

  14. Extensive use of technology in teaching and learning, removing language barriers, increasing access for Divyang students, and educational planning and management

National Education Policy: NEP 2020

Education is the single greatest tool for achieving social justice and equality. Inclusive and equitable education - while indeed an essential goal in its own right - is also critical to achieving an inclusive and equitable society in which every citizen has the opportunity to dream, thrive, and contribute to the nation. NEP is set out from this driving philosophy.

From the perspective of the disabled, there are following buckets of policy points in NEP 2020 that need attention:

  1. Schools Education

  2. Higher Education

  3. Vocational Education

  4. Professional Education

  5. Adult Education and Life Long Learning

  6. Technology Use and Integration

  7. Online and Digital Education

Of these, only the highlighted three have specific mentions for the education for the disabled while they rest are either silent or have only marginal references. So we excerpt from the relevant policy points below.

* NEP refers to the disabled learners as person / student with disability, or as differently-abled person, or as Child With Special Needs (CWSN), or as divyang, or under Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs) comprising gender / socio-cultural / geographical identities, disabilities (including learning disabilities), and others.

* Only relevant sections are lifted and presented in edited form. For actual text, please refer to the policy document.

SCHOOL EDUCATION

6. Equitable and Inclusive Education: Learning for All

Inclusive and equitable education is the key goal of NEP 2020 in keeping with the global education development agenda reflected in the Goal 4 (SDG4) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by India in 2015, seeking to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030. Inclusivity of disability is one of the biggest of all. So it goes -

  • 6.2.5. The Policy recognizes the importance of creating enabling mechanisms for providing Children With Special Needs (CWSN) or Divyang, the same opportunities of obtaining quality education as any other child.

  • 6.10. RPWD Act 2016 and NEP 2020

Ensuring the inclusion and equal participation of children with disabilities in ECCE* and the schooling system will be accorded the highest priority. Children with disabilities will be enabled to fully participate in the regular schooling process from the Foundational Stage to Higher Education.

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act 2016 defines inclusive education as a system of education wherein students with and without disabilities learn together and the system of teaching and learning is suitably adapted to meet the learning needs of different types of students with disabilities.

This Policy is in complete consonance with the provisions of the RPWD Act 2016 and endorses all its recommendations with regard to school education. While preparing the National Curriculum Framework, NCERT will ensure that consultations are held with expert bodies such as National Institutes of DEPwD.

* ECCE: Early Childhood Care and Education

  • 6.11. Disability-friendly School Infrastructure

To this end, schools/school complexes will be provided

    • resources for the integration of children with disabilities

    • recruitment of special educators with cross-disability training

    • establishment of resource centers, especially for children with severe or multiple disabilities

Barrier free access for all children with disabilities will be enabled as per the RPWD Act. Different categories of children with disabilities have differing needs. Schools and school complexes will work and be supported for providing all children with disabilities accommodations and support mechanisms tailored to suit their needs and to ensure their full participation and inclusion in the classroom.

In particular, assistive devices and appropriate technology-based tools, as well as adequate and language-appropriate teaching-learning materials (for example, textbooks in accessible formats such as large print and Braille) will be made available to help children with disabilities integrate more easily into classrooms and engage with teachers and their peers. This will apply to all school activities including arts, sports, and vocational education.

National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) will develop high-quality modules to teach Indian Sign Language, and to teach other basic subjects using Indian Sign Language. Adequate attention will be paid to the safety and security of children with disabilities.

  • 6.12. Regular or Special Schooling: Home-based Education

As per the RPWD Act 2016, children with benchmark disabilities shall have the choice of regular or special schooling. Resource centers in conjunction with special educators will support the rehabilitation and educational needs of learners with severe or multiple disabilities and will assist parents/guardians in achieving high-quality home schooling and skilling for such students as needed.

Home-based education will continue to be a choice available for children with severe and profound disabilities who are unable to go to schools. The children under home-based education must be treated as equal to any other child in the general system. There shall be an audit of home-based education for its efficiency and effectiveness using the principle of equity and equality of opportunity. Guidelines and standards for home-based schooling shall be developed based on this audit in line with the RPWD Act 2016.

While it is clear that the education of all children with disabilities is the responsibility of the State, technology-based solutions will be used for the orientation of parents/caregivers along with wide-scale dissemination of learning materials to enable parents/caregivers to actively support their children’s learning needs will be accorded priority.

  • 6.13. Classrooms with Appropriate Technology, Flexible Curriculum &, Assessment & Certification

Most classrooms have children with specific learning disabilities who need continuous support. Teachers must be helped to identify learning disabilities early and plan specifically for their mitigation. Specific actions will include the use of appropriate technology allowing and enabling children to work at their own pace, with flexible curricula to leverage each child’s strengths, and creating an ecosystem for appropriate assessment and certification.

Assessment and certification agencies, including the proposed new National Assessment Centre - Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development (PARAKH), will formulate guidelines and recommend appropriate tools for conducting such assessment, from the foundational stage to higher education (including for entrance exams), in order to ensure equitable access and opportunities for all students with learning disabilities.

  • 6.14. Appropriate Pedagogy and Teacher Education

The awareness and knowledge of how to teach children with specific disabilities (including learning disabilities) will be an integral part of all teacher education programs, along with gender sensitization and sensitization towards all underrepresented groups in order to reverse their underrepresentation.

HIGHER EDUCATION

14. Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education

Entry into quality higher education can open a vast array of possibilities that can lift both individuals as well as communities out of the cycles of disadvantage. This Policy envisions ensuring equitable access to quality education to all students, with a special emphasis on SEDGs.

14.4.1. Steps to be taken by Governments

  • Earmark suitable Government funds for the education of SEDGs

  • Set clear targets for higher GER for SEDGs

  • Provide more financial assistance and scholarships to SEDGs in both public and private HEIs

  • Conduct outreach programs on higher education opportunities and scholarships among SEDGs

14.4.2. Steps to be taken by all HEIs

  • Make admissions processes more inclusive

  • Make curriculum more inclusive

  • Increase employability potential of higher education programs

  • Ensure all buildings and facilities are wheelchair-accessible and disabled-friendly

  • Develop Institutional Development Plans to increase participation from SEDGs

TECHNOLOGY USE AND INTEGRATION

23.6. Educational Software and Teaching Learning Contents

A rich variety of educational software, for all the above purposes, will be developed and made available for students and teachers at all levels. All such software will be available in all major Indian languages and will be accessible to a wide range of users including students in remote areas and Divyang students.

Teaching-learning e-content will continue to be developed by all States in all regional languages, as well as by the NCERT, CIET, CBSE, NIOS, and other bodies/institutions, and will be uploaded onto the DIKSHA platform.

Sources

Inclusive Education

Learning needs of CWSN