Growing Inclusive Spaces in the Indian Education System
Inclusion is not just a principle; it is a way of life. And given its essentially to the formation of a well-rounded personality, it is astonishing that it took so long for inclusion to be incorporated as a pedagogical principle in our education system.
Inclusion as a concept in education demarcates the sharing of the same physical space by all students, regular, as well as those with special needs. And also those students who are underprivileged, either due to financial reasons or reasons pertaining to caste, class, language or religion. By teaching not just the curriculum, but life itself, an inclusive school provides more value to your child than the best school in Gurgaon or India.
The inclusive approach in schools entails the provision of disability-friendly infrastructure, trained and sensitive teachers and support staff, learning tools and lesson plans designed to include each student’s learning capability and above all, an enabling and sensitive environment for all children to grow.
The importance of making our educational institutions more inclusive, cannot be stressed enough. Slowly but steadily India is making inroads in the field of inclusive education. And even though the level of inclusion in the Indian classroom still leaves much to be desired, it is a welcome step and one that can only lead to a better future. Many schools have, in recent years, started embracing an inclusive approach to education. And while we cannot provide our readers with an exhaustive list all such schools as it is beyond the scope of this list, we have attempted to highlight the approach and achievements of a few in this article.
1. Pathways world school
The Pathway World School in Aravalli is an exemplary inclusive school. The school encourages inclusive learning and aligns it with the best of technology available to facilitate education.
The school provides excellent infrastructure for students with special needs. In addition to regular classes, the school also provides an ALS(additional learning support) program for students with learning or emotional disabilities.
2. Scottish high international school
Scottish High International School professes to be committed to the development of its students’ mind, body and soul and endeavour’s to make them responsible, compassionate global change makers. To this end, the school follows the policy of inclusive education. The school recognises that inclusive education exposes its students to the diversity that they will face in society when they grow up and prepares them to make a positive impact when the time comes.
3. Shikshantar school
Shikshantar School in Gurgaonis one of the few self professed integrated education schools that take its tag very seriously. The school has created and follows a special philosophical policy of inclusion called the Vishwas policy. At Shikshantar, peer learning is encouraged in an inclusive environment where children with varying learning capabilities and social backgrounds come together. The school also involves the parents in its drive to promote sensitization about inclusion through dialogue and discussion. It stresses the importance of creating equal spaces at home, a crucial but largely overlooked factor in creating an equal society.
4. Heritage School
The Heritage School in Kolkatais another wonderful school that promotes inclusive education and implements rigorous programs in its curricula towards achieving this goal. The school takes into account the full spectrum of learners among its students, from overachiever’s that need challenges at every stage to slow learners who require support to keep up with the curriculu, and provides learning tools for all its students.
The school has a Learning Support Departments that caters to the requirements of learners with special needs. The Learning Support Departments consists of highly trained professionals who design, implement and track the Individual Learning Plan specially designed for each special needs student in consultation with the parents and experts.
5. St. Mary’s school
St. Mary’s School in New Delhi is not a school roping on the growing fad of inclusive education.
The school has been following the policy of inclusion for a long time without fanfare. In fact, it is one of the oldest inclusive schools in India.
The school keeps a balanced teacher-student ratio so that teachers can focus on each student individually. Trained special educators are also available at the school totoid the teachers. Parents are told at the outset that the school is an inclusive institution and students with different learning abilities and social backgrounds will be attending and their child will also be required to participate. This open approach to inclusion is a great enabler for learners and we commend St. Mary’s for its vision.
Many schools like St. Mary’s are silently helping kids in Gurgaon and all over India, some of these are The Valley School, Bangalore, Rishi Public School in Gurgaon and APL Global School
Children studying in such inclusive spaces grow up to be more responsible, accepting, and compassionate and I prejudiced adults when they grow up. Such a well-rounded individual gives back positively and responsibly to the society. She helps the nation move forward to the path of prosperity that is inclusive and sustainable.