- Kanika Arora
Every child has the right to learn, grow and develop in their childhood years without any discrimination. Every child is unique in his/her own way, whether gifted or differently abled. For many years children with special needs were taught in separate classrooms and schools but every child must be treated equally as he/she is a child first.
Concept of Inclusive Education
Inclusive education means that all children should receive equal and developmental education, regardless of challenges they may or may not have. Inclusive education is about giving a child with special needs a regular classroom environment but also to help other children to develop respect for uniqueness. An inclusive classroom gives an opportunity to an educator to get creative, to help every child to participate, learn and to be a part of mainstream education.
The principle of inclusive education was adopted at the “World Conference on Special Needs Education: Access and Quality” (Salamanca Statement, Spain 1994) and was restated at the World Education Forum (Dakar, Senegal 2000). The Statement solicits governments to give the highest priority to make education systems inclusive and adopt the principle of inclusive education as a matter of policy. The idea of inclusion is further supported by the United Nations Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Person with Disability Proclaiming Participation and Equality for all.
Inclusion in early childhood education has now been given attention, that it deserves. As per Right to Education Act (RTE) in India, no school can reject admission to any child on any grounds of discrimination. Children are not to be segregated or labeled at any point of time before or after admission. Each class has to be an inclusive classroom, welcoming all types of learners. An inclusive classroom setting makes a school, a community that celebrates diversity.
Inclusion benefits all children, how ?
- A child's emotional quotient enhances when he/she gets involved in interaction with other children in an inclusive classroom. Helping one another gives opportunities to develop friendships that lasts long.
- An inclusive classroom environment gives opportunities for learning together, being together and growing together to all children.
- Inclusion encourages the involvement of parents in the education of their children and activities at their school.
- All children are part of the same community. Inclusive classroom helps them to develop a sense of belonging and respect. Children become sensitive to interests and needs of others.
It's a rarity to find two children who have same education goal. To provide quality education in an inclusive environment an educator must ensure to develop education goals according to every child’s abilities. Parents of a differently abled child feel segregated from the society. If a child with different ability, from different cultural background studies with other children in a classroom, that particular classroom will be an inspiring one for children, parents and educators alike. The idea of an inclusive classroom setup must be practiced and implemented as much as possible. This setup produces more tolerant, peaceful and open minded children, ultimately they are the future of our country.