Free education? Huh. Schools frown upon differently-abled students
Fifteen-year-old Ganesh Gaikwad has attended school only once in his life. Disabled due to polio, Gaikwad was forced to quit school as no school in the vicinity was ready to admit him, and travelling to a school further away was costly for his family.
“We live in Wadala, but the nearest school that was willing to admit my son was in Parel. It cost nearly Rs150 to just send him to school every day. I could not afford it so he dropped out of school,” said his father Ramesh, who is a painter for the municipality.
This is despite the fact that the RTE states that no child can be denied admission, and that schools should offer free education to disabled students and even pay for transportation. But like Ganesh, there are several students who face such problems.
Reetikumari P was forced to quit school as her teachers did not know how to teach someone with faulty eyesight. “Her teachers would discriminate against her and complain about her constantly. The doctor had advised that she go to school so her eyesight improves by reading,” said her mother, who sells garlands for a living.
Inclusive education under the RTE Act is only being practiced on paper, said experts at the CRY inclusive education seminar. Schools still deny admission to differently-abled students, forcing them to quit midway.
Usha Mahajan, head ofJanarth, an NGO, said that schools are under the misconception that a lot of changes are required to be made for disabled students.
“In reality, understanding and a few adjustments are all that is needed. Teachers should be sensitive enough,” she said. She added that the RTE provision of allowing disabled students to be home-schooled has actuallyacted against them as schools now have another reason to excuse these students. “Such students need mainstreamschooling to learn social skills from their classmates,” she said.
“The essence of inclusion is in making appropriate provision to meet each pupil’s needs so as to enable every pupil to access his right to education with all itsentitlements,” said Puja Marwaha, CEO, CRY.
Message:Inclusive education under the RTE Act is only being practiced on paper, said experts at the CRY inclusive education seminar. Schools still deny admission to differently-abled students, forcing them to quit midway [Needs further Advocacy through our SAFE forum]. Thanks!
Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth. - Mohandas Gandhi
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