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Monday, 05 September 2011 14:05

The Study: Integrated Education for the Disabled Children Scheme - Assessment of Impact.

The Scheme: Integrated Education for the Children with disabilities (IEDC) has been carried out by the Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD), Govt. of India for the past thirty years.

Following this trend towards integrating the persons with disabilities into the mainstream education, the District Primary Education Programme-Integrated Education for the Disabled (DPEP IED) has emerged since the later part of the nineties.

This was followed by the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan-IED, the inclusive education for the disabled.

The Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), a statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment was entrusted to find out the impact of the programme: Integrated Education for the Children with Disabilities (IEDC).

Qualified professionals were given appropriate tools developed specially for this purpose. The Study was carried out to find out the impact of the scheme, being currently implemented in the country. Total 18 states from six geographical regions namely north, south, east, west, north - east and central were selected for this study. A total of 89 districts were covered. Total Target Population Studied: 1458 Total samples studied: 1240 Specific Objectives and Methodology for the study was evolved by an expert team. The study was then executed.

The Result of the Study: Integration of children with disabilities
The children integrated in the mainstream schools are children with the following disabilities. Hearing impairment, locomotor disability, mental retardation and visual impairment.

Most of the children with disabilities have been successfully retained in the mainstream schools.

The children were appropriately assessed and placed.

The attitude of the school administration, peers, teachers and the community at large in acceptance of the children with disabilities, was positive.

The acceptance of children with disabilities in the integrated schools by the Heads, parents of children without disabilities and the peers is significant.

The interaction of the different types of schools with the community members is positive.

The performance of the children with disabilities is note worthy considering the limitations in the availability of resources.

There is a multiple approach in diagnostics which has been preferred by the majority of the service providers and service seekers and this is encouraging.

There is networking among the professionals. Some significant issues which emerged-Scope for improvement- Suggestions Selection and Training:

Special educators to be selected based on specific guidelines. Other professionals like Physiotherapists, Speech therapists, medical and technical personnel wherever needed, to be provided with adequate training.

Implementation mechanism
Implementation mechanism differs from State to State, within the State differences between Govt run programs and those by NGOs, also from NGO to NGO. ™ There is a need to have a standard procedure of implementation including utilisation of resource supports.

Curriculum modification suited to the needs of the children with disabilities in integrated schools.

Early intervention immediately after detection of disability to avoid the time gap before schooling.

Transition training, preschool preparedness, parent and children preparedness for integration.

Awareness
The information board in each school, panchayat board office, community centers, Public Health Centres and public places in the communities should carry all the needed information for the parents of children with disabilities on the IEDC Scheme. This communication will bring in more enrolment and retention.

Some newly formed states, and some other states in the hilly regions of this country especially North-East need an additional support system from the HRD Ministry to implement the program effectively there. For example a mobile unit could be established to provide the required certification for immediate relief and avoiding undue delay posed by the hilly terrain.

Awareness on the clauses of the PWD Act, its implementation and implications otherwise.

Resource Support and Funding

Networking between heads of integrated schools and heads of special school needed for resource support.

The staff had been provided with financial support and material resources for the effective implementation as planned in the IEDC Program. If 25% of the grant allocated in the previous year is released as a first installment the teachers would get the salary on due dates and also be motivated in their work. With adequate funding this will also ensure the smooth continuation of the scheme.

There must be a regular allocation of funds to sensitize all the mainstream school teachers, and parents of children with disabilities and those without for a better result.

The teachers working in the field for more than ten years may be absorbed and be placed on the rolls of the mainstream school in their respective communities as resource teachers. Budget allocation to be made accordingly.

Successful integration of persons with disabilities in the local community mainstream schools. The children with disabilities should be provided all facilities in the schools in the respective local communities. In special situations where there is an unavoidable difficulty for the children to avail of the education programme in their appropriate locations, additional funds may be allotted to facilitate them.

There is scope for improvement in providing: resource support from special schools to integrated schools, expert support, resource teacher support, parental support as carryover agents, special TLM support and streamlining the financial flow and budget.

Resource rooms, resource teachers, more effective parent teacher meetings and barrier free environment.

Some states have been very effective in the implementation of the IEDC programme. The other states may be encouraged to develop networking with the states, which have such experience and expertise, and provide technical support in implementing this programme effectively so that it reaches to every child with disability in every state.

Networking needed among the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, Department of Human Resource and the departments concerned with the various schemes of integration and providing support to the persons with disabilities in special schools such as Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, IEDC and Grant-in-aid for all special schools. This will help in the correct direction of flow of funds and avoiding duplication.

Monitoring and Evaluation
It surfaced during the study that nearly 70% of the Heads of Integrated Schools did not attend the orientation programme. There has also been very little interaction between the Heads and the State Implementing Agencies.

An independent monitoring system at the Central, State and District levels is needed for the IEDC Scheme for a still better achievement in the Scheme. This system should encompass the progress made by the children with disabilities in the integrated schools as much as that of the methodology used by the teachers in teaching the children with disabilities.

An independent planning, monitoring, evaluating, system to be evolved especially for the children with mental retardation. This is because such children reach a plateau in academic learning. This will help in identifying their levels of progress periodically and identify on time the stage at which each child can be appropriately introduced to the prevocational skills needed by them for further vocational training and employment.

An evaluation to be done on a periodic basis using a standard format developed for the purpose.

Transparency and Accountability

The HRD Ministry can build many more effective programmes based on the success of the IEDC program. This can be made possible by strengthening the communication channels in the network of the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), State Implementing Agencies and the Integrated Schools. For a transparency in communication there is a need for a workers’ manual clearly delineating the respective roles of the programme participants and their commitments to its implementation.

There is need to relax the age limit for children whose disability had been detected late so that they get admission under the IEDC scheme.

The impact of the RCI study will certainly be beneficial for the effective implementation of IEDC programme in the country. The parents of the children with disabilities and the children with disabilities certainly benefit from the scheme. With more awareness on the importance and benefits of scheme by the administration and the management in schools, many more children will be integrated and stand to benefit.

 
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