Presently Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), which is the main vehicle under the Ministry of Human Resource Development for implementation of the provisions of The Right of Children to Free & Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 is providing inclusive education wherein children with special needs are mainstreamed in regular schools. Under SSA, over 32 lakh CWSN have been identified till March, 2013. Out of this, over 85% are enrolled and 1.5 lakh are enrolled in home based education and 28 lakh aids and appliances have been distributed under SSA since inception of the programme.
While large number of children with disabilities are enrolled under SSA as part of inclusive education, State Governments are also running special schools for children with disabilities. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is providing financial assistance to NGOs to set up special schools under Deendayal Disability Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS).
The Government’s approach continues to be one of promoting inclusive education, but special education is also made available to those who need it.
The Right of Children to Free & Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 came into force from April 1, 2010. The RTE Act provides for free & compulsory education to children including children with disabilities as mentioned in Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) (PwD) Act, 1995 and the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999 namely, i) Blindness, ii) Low vision, iii) Leprosy cured, iv) Hearing impairment, v) Locomotor disabilities, vi) Mental retardation, vii) Mental Illness, viii) Autism, and ix) Cerebral Palsy, and eventually cover Speech impairment, Learning Disabilities, etc. in the age group of 6-14 years at elementary level in a neighbourhood school. The Government is implementing Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) as main programme for universalizing, education for all children for the age group of 6-14 years.
SSA provides Rs. 3000 per child per annum as a budgetary or funding norm. The major interventions under SSA for education of physically challenged children are identification, functional and formal assessment, appropriate educational placement, preparation of Individualised Educational Plan, provision of aids and appliances, teacher training, appointment of research teachers, therapeutical support, establishing research rooms to provide support to children with disabilities, provision of ramps and handrails.
The Scheme of Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) was launched in 2009-10 replacing the earlier scheme of Integrated Education for Disabled Children (IEDC). It provides assistance for the inclusive education of the disabled children in classes IX-XII. The aim of the Scheme is to enable all students with disabilities, after completing eight years of elementary schooling, to pursue further four years of secondary schooling (classes IX to XII) in an inclusive and enabling environment. The scheme covers all children passing out of elementary schools and studying at secondary and higher secondary stage in Government, local body and Government-aided schools, with one or more disabilities as defined under the PwD Act, 1995 and the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999.
The components of the scheme include :
i) assessment of medical / educational needs,
ii) provision of student specific facilities,
iii) development of learning material,
iv) support services like special educators,
v) construction and equipping of resource rooms,
vi) training of general school teachers to build their capacity to fulfill the needs of children with special needs
vii) make schools barrier free.
Setting up of Model inclusive schools in every State is also envisaged. Girls with disabilities receive special focus and efforts made under the scheme to help them gain access to secondary schools, as also to information and guidance for developing their potential. There is a provision of a monthly stipend of Rs.200/- for the disabled girls.
Central assistance for all items covered in the scheme is on 100 per cent basis. The School Education Department of the State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations is the implementing agency. They may involve Non Governmental Organisations having experience, in the field of education of the disabled, in the implementation of the scheme.
Under the National Scholarship Scheme which is funded from Trust Fund for Empowerment of PwDs financial assistance is provided to students with disabilities to enable them to pursue professional or technical courses from recognized institutes and get employed/self employed. Under the Scheme till last academic session 1000 scholarships were provided to the students with disabilities through out the country and from the academic session 2013-14 this number has been increased to 1500 students. 30% scholarships are reserved for girls. Only Indian nationals are eligible for scholarships.
Under the National Fund for People with Disabilities (National Fund) 500 new scholarships to be awarded each year are equally distributed (125 each) for the four major categories of disabilities viz.
(iii) Hearing and
Further, 40% of the scholarships in each category are reserved for girls.
Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship Scheme for students with disabilities has been launched for providing them scholarship to pursue M.Phil/Ph.D courses.
Section 33 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) (PwD) Act, 1995 provides for reservation not less than 3% of vacancies in government establishments for persons with disabilities of which 1% each shall be reserved for persons suffering from (i) blindness or low vision; (ii) hearing impairment and (iii) loco motor disability or cerebral palsy. Accordingly, reservations are made in various Government Establishments including Public Sector Undertakings (PSU).
Further, with a view to encourage employment of Persons with Disabilities in private sector, the Government provides the employer’s contribution for Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees State Insurance (ESI) for 3 years, for employees with disabilities including visually impaired persons employed in the private sector on or after April 1, 2008, with a monthly salary upto Rs.25, 000 under its Scheme of Incentives to the Private Sector for Employment of Physically Challenged Persons.
National Handicapped and Finance Development Corporation (NHFDC), a PSU under this Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, is providing loans at concessional rates for encouraging self-employment of Persons with Disabilities.
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) guarantees employment to rural household adults including differently abled persons. Under National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), a provision of 3% of the total beneficiaries has been made for differently abled category.
( With inputs from the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.)