Parents unwilling to send children with special needs to schools in Nagaland: Official

  • | Tuesday | 26th October, 2021

Kohima, Oct 26 (PTI) Nagaland"s School Education Principal Director Shanavas C on Tuesday said inclusive education in the state is facing several challenges like unwillingness of parents of children with special needs (CWSN) to send their wards to schools due to societal discrimination. People are also unenthusiastic about their children being identified as CWSN during surveys, the senior official told a workshop here. Speaking at the workshop on Inclusive Education – “a step into inclusion”, Shanavas said conducting a workshop is easier than implementing it on the ground. Listing the problems being faced in the area of inclusive education in the north-eastern state, the senior official said special schools are mainly concentrated in urban areas and children of rural areas remain unreached. In Nagaland, it is only during elections that an exercise for compiling data of people with disabilities (PwDs) is conducted which is also incorrect at times, Shanavas said. The main obstacle in implementing inclusive education in the state is lack of encouragement among the parents of CWSNs for which there should be a convergence among government departments and involvement of the stakeholders towards generating awareness to make inclusive education a success, said Shanavas. The principal director gave assurance that the Educational Management and Information System (EMIS) would be strengthened to collect proper data by encouraging, motivating children and people with special needs to fight for their rights. All children, including those with special needs, have the right to education, and the Nagaland Board of School Education (NBSE) expects all schools to demonstrate inclusive practice while imparting education to children, said its chairperson Asano Sekhose. She informed that all the educational institutions registered under NBSE have been given guidelines to make education accessible for CWSN, she said. Teachers have been asked to give remedial teaching to CWSN if they require it, and schools have been instructed to make the infrastructure and the premises disabled-friendly. State Disability Commissioner Diethono Nakhro said children with disabilities are one of the most marginalised and excluded groups. Although there is a severe lack of data, available evidence from a few countries shows that, without exception, children with disabilities are more likely to be excluded from school than their peers without disabilities, she said. Even when they join a school, children with disabilities are less likely to complete primary or secondary education, and the inequality grows as the level of education advances, she said. “One of the biggest challenges that we have with children with disabilities and persons with disabilities, in general, is the lack of data, and in many ways, they continue to be the "uncounted" section of society”, she said. It is time for a change, said Nakhro asserting that all departments, organisations, and stakeholders need to come together to make the change happen. School Education is one of the major departments that the Commission is looking to work closely with, particularly at this time during the implementation of the new National Education Policy with a focus on equity and inclusion, she said. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 clearly states that all educational institutions, funded or recognised by the state government, shall provide inclusive education to children with disabilities, Nakhro said. PTI NBS MM MM

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