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Inclusive education of children with special needs incorporated in centrally sponsored school education schemes: HRD minister Kushwaha
Minister of State for HRD Upendra Kushwaha in a written reply to a Rajya Sabha question informed the house to the effect that inclusive education of children with special needs had been incorporated in centrally sponsored school education schemes besides other components.

"Department of School Education & Literacy is implementing the Centrally Sponsored Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) at elementary level and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) at secondary level, whereby provision is made for inclusive education of children with special needs (CWSN), besides other components," stated an official release of the minister's reply.

It was informed that the overall goals of the SSA included universal access and retention, bridging of gender and social category gaps in education and enhancement of learning levels of children. Further, the SSA focuses on providing inclusive education to CWSN, wherein children with and without disabilities participate and learn together in the same class.

According the release, "The major interventions for the education of CWSN are identification, functional and formal assessment, appropriate educational placement, preparation of Individualized Education Plan, provision of free aids and appliances, transport and/or escort support, teacher training, appointment of resource teachers, therapeutical support and barrier free access."

Some other pertinent excerpts of the reply are as follows:

-SSA provides approval @Rs 3000/- per child per annum, of which at least Rs. 1000/- per child can be earmarked for engaging resource teachers exclusively for CWSN. SSA also has a provision of engagement of two resource persons per Block Resource Centre for CWSN.

-The National Council of Educational Research & Training has developed exemplar material on curricular adaptations, inclusive teaching and how to adopt flexibility in evaluation for children with disabilities in inclusive classrooms. These handbooks, meant for primary and upper primary level teachers, cover all disabilities, including cognitive and intellectual disabilities, and have been disseminated to all States and UTs.

-Under SSA, a series of five training modules has also been developed in collaboration with the World Bank. These modules aim to prepare teachers to work with children of all disabilities including children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Deaf blindness and hearing impairment in mainstream inclusive environments.

-At the secondary level, the Ministry is implementing the scheme of Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) as part of RMSA with an objective to provide all students with disabilities an opportunity to complete four years of secondary schooling (Class IX to XII) in an inclusive and enabling environment.

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