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Bangalore National Workshop , 27th – 28th October, 2009

SARVA SHIKSHA ABHIYAAN

                                                                  A Report of the National Workshop

On

Promoting Equity and Equality through Inclusive Education in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan”

  BANGALORE, KARNATAKA

27th – 28th October, 2009

Inclusive Education

Technical Support Group (SSA)

Ed.CIL (India) Ltd.

10-B, I.P. Estate,

New Delhi – 110 002

TABLE OF CONTENTS

S. No.

Session

 A.

Introduction

 B.

Methodology for the Workshop 

 C.

Survey and identification CWSN

 D.

Resource Support to the CWSN

 E.

Providing Aids and Appliances to CWSN through ALIMCO

 F.

Increasing Awareness on IE through Peers

 G.

Preparing Schools for IE

 H.

Road Map for IE: 2010-11

 

A. Introduction

 

The national workshop on “Promoting Equity and Equality through Inclusive Education in SSA” was held in Bangalore, Karnataka on 27th – 28th October, 2009. 24 States/UTs out of 28 invited were represented in the workshop.  States/ UTs of Dadra Nagar Haveli, Lakshadweep, Rajasthan and UP did not participate in the workshop.

 

Review of the progress of implementation of activities incorporated in the AWP&B 2009-10 was one of the objectives, but as the agenda for the workshop, is enclosed as Annexure-II, suggests the focus had to be on the in depth analysis of the processes and factors contributing to the vigour and momentum of some of the initiatives in some of the states/UTs and those impeding the successful implementation of some of the planned interventions in some of the states/UTs. This was felt necessary in view of the fact that despite unequivocal acknowledgement of the need to increase our reach to differently abled children both in terms of identification of their problems and creating a social, psychological and educational milieu conducive to their over-all personality development, our efforts cannot be said to be at the optimum level and results of these efforts have also not been of the desired level. It is evident from the fact that in the year 2008-09, only 82% of the fund allocated for this component could be utilized even when a number of states had been allocated fund at a rate much lower than Rs. 1200 per child. It is also accepted at the same time that some of the states/UTs have come up with excellent interventions which can be replicated in other states/UTs.

 

B.        Methodology for the workshop: -          

 

            Minutes of the last workshop held at Kolkata, agenda items of this workshop, RTE Act-2009 and recommendations of 10th JRM were to the main bases of deliberations in the workshop. Representatives of Rehabilitation Council of India and ALIMCO had been invited to facilitate a clear and luminous understanding the issues involving the strengthening of the network of resource persons and delivery system for the assistive devices. Given the critical importance of the existence of a friendly and supportive peer group for the education of differently abled children in formal schools, it was planned to invite SRUSHTI, an NGO working in collaboration with SSA Karnataka in this area.

 

            Participants were divided into groups of four or five with the instruction of first cogitating on the approach and strategy of their respective states/UTs in regard to the given topic and then share it with the other group members. Each group was expected to discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various approaches and strategies and make a presentation on what shape it would like the future course of action to take in view of the collective wisdom of the group. The presentation by the group was further discussed in the whole house which led to firming up of the agreements on the contours of the Annual Plan on IE for next year. It was an enriching experience though with this feeling that time was a bit inadequate to attend to all the agenda items in adequately.       

 

C.  Survey and identification CWSN

      The workshop started with Shri. Selva Kumar, SPD, Karnataka welcoming all the participants to the workshop which was followed by Shri. Sushil Kumar from MHRD making the inaugural address. This was followed by a brief presentation by Dr. Anupriya Chadha - TSG on the status of IE in SSA.

 

D. State/UT wise status of progress of implementation of IE activities and issues emerging there from are enclosed at Annexure-V.   

 

E.      Survey and identification CWSN : -         

            States/UTs, though all of them not being on the equal footing, reported to be using multiple data sources for information on children with special needs, DISE and HHS databases being the principal sources. The approach seems to be that after compiling the list of CWSN on the basis of these databases, a further verification is got done with the help of resource teachers. Some of the states/UTs have been using the information received through the child census, records maintained by Anganwadi workers under early detection of disabilities programme, special survey reports, records maintained by District Blindness Control Societies etc. Following problems transpired to have adversely affected the effectiveness and accuracy of the efforts for collecting information on CWSN:

 

1.      Teachers conducting the DISE and House Hold Surveys are not trained adequately to be in a position to identified different types of disabilities.

2.      The DISE formats do not have scope for collecting all the relevant information on different types of disabilities.

3.      The strength of resource teachers in the field is also not adequate to provide effective support to the general teachers.

4.      Even the resource teachers may not be equipped to identify all types of disabilities.

5.      There is no attempt to harmonise the information received from various data sources.

6.      The identification surveys are not preceded by vigorous awareness generation and advocacy programmes on how can the detection of disabilities be of help to the CWSN and their family.

7.      The database on CWSN is not computerised and is confined to the project functionaries only. It is not even shared widely with the community to elicit their opinion and comments.

8.      There is no institutional system of sample verification of the data either by a third party agency or by higher authorities.

9.      Monitoring of the entire exercise by the district and block level officials is also not of desired level.    

 

Following action points emerged from the group discussions with regard to the road ahead: -

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1.      States/UTs have to chalk out a concrete plan of action to ensure that all the elementary school teachers receive 90 day foundation course offered by Rehabilitation Council of India in a period of three years. One teacher from every school may be selected to be covered under this programme during the year 2010-11.

2.      States/UTs have to ensure that in each block there is one resource teacher for each of the major categories of disabilities.

3.      Since it may not be possible to provide this kind of team of resource teachers in every block immediately for reasons of non availability of train manpower and financial constrains, it is advisable to provide each of the resource teachers at least 12 to 15 day multi-category training.

4.      As some of the states reported that they were not in a position to engage even a single resource teacher in a block, it is advisable that they draw up a plan to place at least two teachers who have received the 90 day foundation course training from RCI in the blocks to look after the responsibilities of resource teachers purely as an interim arrangement.

5.      Availability of one or two resource teachers at block level is not enough to ensure the reach of the programme to the CWSN. States need to consider the engagement of IE volunteers on contractual basis at GP level (GP having at least 10 CWSN) on the pattern of Assam or creating a cadre of key Resource Persons from amongst the parents of CWSN by providing them intensive training on the pattern of West Bengal.

6.      The DISE formats relating to CWSN need to be revised immediately to ensure collection of all the relevant information.

7.      HHS formats being used by different states/UTs also need to be studied and revised to facilitate collection of information on various types of disabilities.

8.      The training modules prepared by different states/UTs to train the teachers for conducting survey also need to be fine tuned. TSG consultants may study a few of them and develop a model training module for this purpose.

9.      Each round of survey should be preceded by a vigorous advocacy programme at the habitation level involving the VEC/SMC members and parents. Appropriate materials for this purpose will require to be prepared.

10. Once the DISE and House Hold survey data are available, it should be the responsibility of the RTs to compare the two in respect of CWSN and harmonise the same in consultation with the teachers and community members and field verification as and when felt necessary.

11. This database will continue to be tentative until the entries are verified by the RTs themselves or IE volunteers/KRPs specially trained for this purpose. Detailed programme, therefore, should be chalked out for the verification exercise.

12. Once the verification exercise is over, the data on CWSN should be computerised and a web enabled programme be developed to facilitate its continuous updation on the basis of feed-back received from the official sources or public.

13. States/UTs should consider institutionalizing sample verification of 5 to 10% of the data through third party.

14. Using the computerized database detailed profile of each and every CWSN with his/her photograph should be generated and made available to the teachers for record.

15. As regards the time frame for the survey and identification exercise, it will have to be decided taking into account the time frame for DISE and HHS surveys.          

 

F.      Resource Support to the CWSN : -         

 The presentations by Shri Sushil Kumar and Dr. Anupriya Chadha clearly brought out the seriousness of the situation on this count. Success of IE programme hugely hinges on the availability of trained manpower in the field. Shri J.P. Singh, Member Secretary talked about the subject at great length and underlined the urgency of ensuring trained manpower. He drew attention of the participants to  Section 13 (2b) of the RCI Act which mentions that “No person, other than the rehabilitation professional who possesses a recognized rehabilitation qualification and is enrolled on the Register shall practice as rehabilitation professional anywhere in India” and Section 2 (1n) of the Act which defines “rehabilitation professionals as

i.    Audiologists and speech therapists

ii.   Clinical psychologists

iii.  Hearing aid and ear mould technicians

iv.  Rehabilitation engineers and technicians

v.   Special teachers for educating and training the handicapped

vi.  Vocational counsellors, employment officers and placement officers dealing with 

      handicapped

vii. Multipurpose rehabilitation therapists, technicians or

viii.Such other category of professionals as the Central Government may, in consultation with the Council, notify from time to time.

Section 13 (3) of the Act, he mentioned, says "Any person who acts in contravention of any provision of sub-section (2) shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extent to one thousand rupees, or both."

Following model for providing resource support to the CWSN emerged from group discussions:-

Important agreements in this regard were as follows: -

 

1.      States to fill up the vacancies of resource teachers immediately with the trained manpower after working out the requirement of resource teachers in view of the number and categories of CWSN.

2.      Ideally there should be one resource teacher for each category of disability, but as long as this is not possible to be done, as discussed, 10 to 15 day multi-category training should be provided to the resource teachers.

3.      If the required number of persons with degree or diploma in special education are not available to be placed as RTs, the teachers having received 90 day foundation course training from RCI may be used as RTs as an interim arrangement after providing them further training on key aspects of Inclusive Education.

4.      As already discussed in the section ‘Survey and Identification’, states need to consider engagement of IE volunteers at GP level or one volunteer for 10 number of CWSN or to create a cadre of key resource persons and provide them training to take care of the identification and educational needs of CWSN.

5.      As elaborately explained by the Member Secretary, RCI, the states should consider arranging 90 day foundation course training to all the teachers in a phased manner. Shri Singh informed that this course was now been offered by IGNOU in different regional languages.

6.      States should study if all the teachers having received 90 day foundation course training are deployed in schools having CWSN and undertake the rationalization of their deployment to ensure utilization of the human resource created.

7.      States also need to take a call on strengthening the block level resource centres for IE to be recognized as study centres for providing 90 day foundation course training to the teachers. To start with, one block resource centre in every district may be selected for up-gradation.           

8.      States to take stock of the facilities available at the IE resource centres and draw up plans for making them fully equipped both for training and service delivery purposes. The overwhelming opinion was that the resource centres earlier envisaged as one room facilities need to be provided with one room, one small store room and separate toilets for ladies and gents. This is necessary because one room has to be spared completely for providing therapeutic and counselling services to the children. Besides as parents of the children have necessarily to accompany the CWSN, the other room can be used both as training cum waiting room. TSG consultant will draw up a list of equipments to be available in a model resource centre and share with the states. So that they can work out the requirements accordingly.

9.      The resource teachers are not to be seen chiefly as health care persons but educational functionaries, their main task being facilitating education of the CWSN in a formal school environment. They should therefore, be thoroughly trained on teaching learning processes, so that they can monitor the academic progress of the CWSN and also provide them the required academic support either at the school or separately. The resource teachers must not be reduced to logistical support providers.

10. Each and every resource teacher and IE volunteer, if engaged, shall draw up a monthly plan of action indicating which schools and villages will he/she visit during the month. The action plan should clearly indicate the academic as well as non-academic duties to be performed during the field visits.

11. Rigours monitoring of the functioning of RTs and IE volunteers is of paramount importance. As already being done by 2-3 states reportedly, states should think of making it mandatory for the RTs to post their monthly plans of action on the state society’s website.

12. The camp approach followed by a few states like Kerala and Orissa for bringing together the CWSN and their parents for a day or two has shown excellent results in terms of the emotional well being of the children and should be replicated in all the states/UTs.

13. In fact, it was strongly felt that the capacity building of the parents is extremely essential for effective care CWSN. Member Secretary, RCI mentioned about the Parental Training Programme being conducted through IGNOU.  He said that the modules available for parental training gave information on both educational management and rehabilitation of CWSN.  The states could contact IGNOU for these modules and adapt them as per their requirements.

 

G.      Providing Aids and Appliances to CWSN through ALIMCO:      

 

Shri Priya Ranjan Dash, Sr. Manager & Unit Head from ALIMCO – Bhubaneshwar held an interactive session with the participants Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) is a public sector undertaking functioning under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJ&E) manufacturing aids and appliances largely for locomotor impaired and some aids for visually impaired. Hearing aids production has started very recently by ALIMCO.  It manufacturers 355 types of Aids and Appliances for Orthopaedically, Hearing and Visually Handicapped. Its products conform to standards laid down by Bureau of Indian Standards.  It provides aids and appliances to CWSN under SSA on a 60-40% cost basis.

 

At the outset, Shri. P.R. Dash clarified that if any material provided by ALIMCO does not work, it could be replaced within 6 months free of cost. 

 

Shri P.K. Tiwari, MHRD raised the issues of delay in the supply of aids and appliances to the needy CWSN through ALIMCO and poor quality of hearing aids supplied through ALIMCO. Shri. Sam John, representative from Kerala, also maintained that ALIMCO needed to improve the quality of hearing aids.  Shri. P.K. Tiwari suggested that if ALIMCO does not give go quality hearing aids, then other sources could also be used. SSA funds could also be utilized for this purpose. States also suggested that ALIMCO should start producing aids for low vision children. It was suggested that till such time this happens, organizations like Blind Peoples Association or National association for the Blind should be used for procuring devices for children with low vision.

 

Ms. Gitika Sharma, representative from Assam raised the issue that ALIMCO generally gives material in an unassembled manner. This needs to be looked into by ALIMCO.  She further suggested that ALIMCO should also provide a user manual for the products that it provides. She also stated that the signature taken by the ALIMCO representatives on the ADIP form should be taken during the distribution camp and not during the assessment camps. She also suggested that ALIMCO should inform the states at least 3 weeks in advance about the delivery of assistive devices so that the State makes necessary arrangement for storing the equipment. All these suggestions were agreed upon by ALIMCO and the SSA States. Shri. Manoj Kashyap from HP suggested that chair for the children with Cerebral Palsy should also be produced by ALIMCO.

 

Shri Avinav Kumar from Jharkhand stated that it generally takes 4-5 months for ALIMCO to distribute the items after the assessment of the child. This surely needs attention. He also mentioned that the quality of some items like AFO/ HKAFO (fabricated items) is poor. In some items belt could be replaced by a sticker plate so that even if there is a delay the assessed child can use the item. He also pointed out that an audiologist should be a part of the ALIMCO assessment team. Or else this assessment becomes meaningless.  He also said that the States generally give advance on the basis of the performa invoice. ALIMCO should provide a pucca bill after the distribution of assistive devices so that the amount is fully adjusted. Lastly, he mentioned that ALIMCO generally recommends wheel chair, tri-cycles to children of 8-10 years of age. These items make the child dependent on them. As far as possible the child should be encouraged to walk and use his/her hands. This needs to be checked by ALIMCO. All these points were agreed upon by the representative from ALIMCO.

 

Shri Tulsidas from AP suggested that some training should be imparted by the ALIMCO representatives on the use and maintenance of aids and appliances during the assessment camps.

 

            The representative from ALIMCO appreciated the points raised by the participants and assured to take necessary action to ensure speedy delivery of the requisitioned items with sufficient advance information of their arrival and quick response to the complaints regarding quality of items supplied. He said it very emphatically that the truckers carrying the consignments cannot force the consignees to receive the materials if they arrive in the evening and they are duty bound to wait till next morning of the working day.

 

It was decided that the representative from ALIMCO will be invited in each of the quarterly review meetings as interaction of this kind is very helpful in sorting out problems in delivery of a safety devices.

 

H.      Increasing Awareness on IE through Peers : -         

 

This presentation was done by Mrs. Luxmi Hariharan from SRUSHTI, a NGO working in collaboration with SSA – Karnataka to increase awareness on IE through peers. Srushti has built the capacity of inclusive peer group to participate, to communicate and to exercise the rights of CWSN.  The peers have helped CWSN in school activities and also in the home based education programme.  Mrs. Luxmi Hariharan stated that peer support can address the following issues in IE:

    

Identification of CWSN and their enrollment
Procurement of necessary aids for CWSN
Retention of CWSN in schools
Bring attitudinal changes towards CWSN.

                   

 

She then stated that to begin with the programme of Namagu Ide Samarthya was conducted in 350 government schools in 12 districts of Karnataka.  Now the programme has expanded to all districts of Karnataka from 2007-08.  Basically Namagu Ide Samarthya focussed on changing the attitude in peers from compassion to friendship; sympathy to empathy and disability to ability.  Srushti developed a communication model based on their grassroots experience with financial assistance from SSA in building capacity of marginalised groups of children to communicate and seek their rights.  To achieve this art based processes were used because art:

 

Is a great levelers and breaks barriers
Helps to communicate without ambiguity and understand better
Can build compassion and concern
Helps to evolve creative solutions to complex situations.

Namagu Ide Samarthya was implemented at the following 3 levels:

 

Building capacity of children
Building capacity of teachers
Building capacity of officers.

The capacities of the children were built to:

 

Express their views in all matters concerning their school and their child rights with a focus on CWSN
Participate collectively through an inclusive children’s group in all school development programmes, and using this platform to express themselves, resolve issues, if any, concerning CWSN, with the support of their teachers, HM
Create awareness, sensitize community about their right to education and seek their support for education of all CWSN
Participate in SDMC and Panchayat meetings and express their opinions of education of CWSN.

The capacities of the teachers were built to:

 

Change attitude of teachers towards CWSN to persons by reflecting on ones own attitude, both personally and at classroom with a focus on building a positive attitude towards CWSN
Form inclusive groups their vision, charter of rules, aim, objectives, etc
Facilitate inclusive children’s groups to initiate child participation in all school development programmes mainly by listening to children.

 

The capacities of the officers were built to:

Understand child participation and strengthening voice of CWSN through inclusive children’s group by giving them platforms to talk
Listen to CWSN
Build monitoring systems for Inclusive children’s groups, so that it is implemented by all teachers, to give prizes for best group, facilitate sharing and learning between groups
Create support systems and linkages with child Welfare Departments, school village committees gram sabha and inclusive children’s groups. 
 

Mrs. Hariharan gave examples of how peers were giving support to CWSN.  She then explained in detail the processes of Namagu Ide Samarthya.  Arts based activities were designed to build togetherness and acceptance amongst CWSN and non-disabled.  The message of IE was given to the community using Roopakam (dance and drama performance).  Further communication materials like songs, posters, films, etc. were developed by inclusive group.  Awareness programme was conducted in all the schools and villages by the inclusive group showcasing the issues of disabled.  

 

She ended her presentation by giving the following outcomes of Namagu Ide Samarthya:

Creating a better atmosphere for CWSN in the classroom from peers
Opportunity for non-disabled children to understand the needs of CWSN and respond accordingly at lunch, access to school
Opportunity for teachers to get a better understanding of the psychological barriers faced by CWSN
Parents feel some relief from peer sharing responsibilities of their children like bringing to school, lunch, academics, social life
Breaking barriers using the arts processes awareness programmes
 To strengthen participation of CWSN in school activities like games, assembly, cultural activities, responsibilities at school like cleaning, attendance, etc and other
To create a positive attitude in community towards CWSN.

                   

Through Namagu Ide Samarthya inclusion among peers and CWSN is built in the system and all psychological barriers have been broken.

 

I.                 Preparing Schools for IE : -         

 

          It was an engrossing discussion on our efforts and limitations thereof to ensure that the schools the CWSN are going to are really prepared to take care of their education in a non discriminatory manner. Following observations were made in the course of the discussion.

     

Ø      SSA has definitely given an added fillip to the removal of physical barriers in the schools, but as the data suggests, a large number of schools are still without ramps with hand rails and even a larger number without CWSN friendly toilets. A closure study is also required if the existing buildings have doors appropriate for children using wheel chairs and if space available is adequate for accommodating CWSN. More attention is required in case of multi-storyed school buildings being constructed in urban areas because much thought does not seem to have been given to making them CWSN friendly.

 

Ø      The classrooms are being transformed by sensitizing teachers on appropriate teaching and seating arrangements of CWSN.  For example, a low vision child needs to be seated in front of the classroom and for a hearing impaired child care has to be taken  that the teacher speaks slowly and clearly so that the child can comprehend what the teacher is saying by lip reading.  For children with mental retardation task analysis and repetition are absolutely essential.  A child with CP using a chair or a child using a wheelchair should be seated near the door. In some states special furniture is also being made a part of the classroom infrastructure.  Peers are also being sensitized to the needs and potential of CWSN.  AP conducts Teacher Acquaintance Programme wherein the teachers are acquainted with the learning needs of CWSN.  The state of Kerala has undertaken a visioning workshop wherein an attempt is being made to marry the two kinds of support provided by the general teacher (s/he generally takes care of the pedagogical needs of CWSN) and the resource teacher (s/he generally does the managements of CWSN). 

 

Ø      Some states reported to have conducted peer sensitization so that labelling does not become a part of the classroom environment. Some conduct inclusive co-curricular activities whereas other states have conducted awareness generation among parents of non-disabled children towards CWSN.  Some states like UP have inserted a chapter in the textbooks on disability related issues, and other states like MP have inserted a one page of instructions for teachers on how to teach CWSN in all the textbooks.  States like Karnataka are following the Shrusti technique for peer sensitization and organizing Kala Melas for both able and differently abled children. Tamil-Nadu does life skill training programme for CWSN.

 

Ø      Availability of TLMs for blind which includes Braille textbook, Braille slate, Braille kit, books on tape, concrete/tactile objects, embossed teaching learning material, Taylor Frame, stylus, abacus, talking software, etc. has also increased.

 

Ø      Tamil-Nadu has adopted the ABL method, whereas Karnataka has adopted the Nali Kali method of teaching all children. Karnataka has developed a book TUDITA which is totally based on the principle of adapted curriculum.  Delhi and Chandigarh have attempted designing textbooks in large print, keeping in minds the needs of children with low vision. Not much progress has however happened in the states as far as designing of textbooks keeping in mind the needs of CWSN is concerned. This is an area which needs urgent attention. 

 

Ø      Another aspect that needs strengthening is the state’s policy on giving space to each child to learn at his/her own pace.  Some states and UTs like Tamil- Nadu and Chandigarh have given certain concessions to CWSN in the assessment procedures. The UT of Chandigarh has also made curriculum flexible for CWSN. In Himachal Pradesh, curriculum modification has been attempted for children with visual and hearing impairment studying at the upper primary level. In Assam the curriculum has been modified for CWSN in class I and II.  More visual aids are used for teaching children including stories and rhymes for visually impaired children. Books on tape are being provided to the visually impaired children in Bihar. CAL has been extended to CWSN in Haryana and Puducherry. As States have taken up curriculum reform programmes in the light of NCF-2005, greater attention needs to be given to the needs of different categories of differently abled.  

 

Ø        As far as evaluation procedures were concerned, again different States have adopted different mechanisms. In the state of Maharashtra, a child’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) prepared by the special teacher is referred to by the teacher before evaluating a CWSN. The UT of Chandigarh follows the evaluation guidelines developed at the national level.  In MP a visually impaired child can write in Braille.  Continuous evaluation is also undertaken for CWSN in MP under the Dakshta Samvardhan Programme. In Tamil- Nadu, children with writing problems are given the flexibility to give exams orally and the hearing impaired children are given language exemption. Scribes are given to the visually impaired.  The state of Assam has translated the evaluation guidelines developed at the national level and issued letter to the Department through Education Secretary giving instructions to follow the guidelines. It was agreed, however, that these efforts are not equal to the challenges in this regard and states have to take up the development of a model of continuous and comprehensive evaluation suitable for different categories of CWSN in real earnest as part of their curriculum reform programme.

 

J:      Road Map for IE: 2010-11: -         

 

Based on the agreements arrived at, as mentioned above, State/UT representatives were asked to develop a roadmap for IE in the last session of the workshop. Each State developed a road map keeping in mind their needs, resources and the context in which IE had to be implemented. It was basically an exercise aimed at recapitulation of the main points discussed in course of two days of the workshop and given the limited time available it was not expected of them to come up with a concrete and comprehensive plan document. They were requested however to give utmost consideration to the issues broached and agreements arrived at in the workshop while formulating the Annual Plan on IE for the year 2010-11.    

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