A Brainstorming Session was organized by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on 4th July, 2018 at ITL Public School, Dwarka to contrive a comprehensive policy to assist children with disabilities in their education and examinations.
Representatives of different State School Education Boards – ICSE, NIOS, IGNOU, NCERT, Open Schools of different States and NGOs, Principals of various schools, Special Educators and Parents of children with different disabilities took part in this session in preparing a comprehensive policy. Besides, a sign language interpreter was there during the session to assist the participants impaired of speech and hearing ability.
Ms. Anita Karwal, IAS, Chairperson CBSE created an awareness between the participants about the facilities and exemptions provided by the Board for the benefit of the children with special needs. She highlighted some specific work executed by CBSE such as the mandatory provision of Special Educators in schools, National awards for Special Educators, Sports Competitions for special children, Mainstreaming of Health and Physical Education with special focus on inclusion in schools, provision of Vocational Subjects, provision of alternative questions and other facilities.
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Further, she added that CBSE has been sensitizing schools towards the difficulty level of these children so that special provisions can be implemented easily and it would alleviate the students’ hardships. She asked the school Boards to put their suggestions forward so that an all-encompassing and comprehensive policy can be framed. She suggested that the Boards should not assess the value such children will add to society, rather focus on the value that we can add to their lives to make it better. She also shared that the CBSE has gone beyond the existing norms to allow a incurably sick child to use the facilities of amanuensis.
Dr. Sanyam Bhardwaj, Director (Academics) informed the participants about the facilities and exemptions extended by the CBSE to the children with special needs. The provision of scribe and adult prompter, use of computer or typewriter for writing answers in examinations, use of screen reading software for visually impaired candidates, exemptions in the choice of languages, separate question papers in enlarged print and alternative questions are explained in detail. Besides, Ms. Ira Singhal, SDM, Alipur Delhi, a special invitee suggested that this policy would not be implemented as a charity to them; rather the cutting-edge technology should be implemented for teaching and assessing these special children.
However, all participants were divided into groups and each group put effort in designing the support plan on curriculum adaptations, physical environment, pedagogies, methods of assessment, technological interventions, assistive devices and accommodations or exemptions in Board examinations.
As per the RPWD Act 2016, each group was assigned different disabilities
- Group I was assigned Locomotor disability, Leprosy cured persons and Cerebral Palsy.
- Group II was given the responsibility to brainstorm on Dwarfism, Muscular Dystrophy and Acid Attack Victim.
- Group III worked upon Blindness, Low Vision, Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Speech and Language.
- Group IV was assigned Specific Learning Disabilities, Intellectual Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Mental Illness.
- Group V focused on Multiple Scierosis, Parkinson’s disease, Haemophilia, Thalassemia, Sickle Cell Disease and Multiple Disabilities.
- Group VI discussed about the role of technology in education of children with disability.
Here, some points get highlighted as some specific disabilities need specialized accommodations to overcome several limitations and equitable environment and others. However, a thorough assessment of the students in the early years is also required for identifying various disabilities. Moreover, to provide the need based support, all academic boards should develop a Management Information System/ Database on students with special needs. At the end of the session, the recommendations of all the groups were summarized and presented before the participants and these recommendations would be mentioned in the final report.
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