The question is whether the future lies in Inclusive Education? The execution has been poor, the efforts have been half hearted, the designing and planning have lacked conviction and creativity,the student experiences have been humiliating and counter productive and the outcome has been disastrous.
Inclusive Education has been the rhetoric for over 25 years.Progress has been very disappointing. Legislation is in place, the agenda has been placed before the Nation but the schools have been resisting the very idea. Where ever inclusion has happened the process has been compromised. Pedagogy has been far off the mark. Study material not available or not reaching on time. Inaccessible infrastructure. Schools believe responsibility of inclusion with parents.
For leading activists, Inclusive Education has become a bad word because of the shoddy implementation. They oppose the idea. The teachers in several private and Govt schools ask why disabled students should be forced into mainstream. The idea of inclusion has not been understood, accepted or believed in.
Is our objective merely for inclusion in classroom or is it ensuring that disable people are empowered to be part of mainstream work force and the society. The need of the hour is to strategically combine the advantages of Special and mainstream education to achieve the ultimate goal of social inclusion. Let us include where possible and give special attention where necessary. Education must achieve skills and learnings that results in mainstream employment and participation.
Technology must be used to create access and personal independence. Teachers should learn to appreciate the diversity in the human kind. Must be given enough time to engage with the students. Accent on Mugging should give way to a critical and analytic pursuit of knowledge. Focus to shift from immediate inclusion to ultimate inclusion.