A significant provision of the SSA is inclusive education: all children, including children with disabilities and children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups, are to be provided with elementary education at their doorstep. It involves ensuring that children with disabilities are able to access their neighborhood schools on an equal basis with others.
Inclusive education aims at including students with special needs into mainstream schools so that they can enjoy a better learning experience and have the same opportunities as other students. Inclusion highlights the importance of a student’s participation in learning in a regular classroom system.
Inclusive education aims to provide equal educational opportunities for all students, irrespective of physical disability. This helps to minimise the disadvantages faced by people with special needs in accessing education and provides them with an opportunity to receive quality education along with other students in mainstream schools.
Inclusive education is a concept that builds on the idea that students with disabilities and students without disabilities should be educated together in the same classroom. This model of education is sometimes also referred to as “mainstreaming” or “integration.”
The main purpose of inclusive education is to improve educational outcomes for all students, particularly those with disabilities. It’s thought that by including students with disabilities in regular classes, they will benefit from the same educational opportunities as their peers and be more likely to reach their individual potential.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires schools to educate students with disabilities alongside non-disabled peers “to the maximum extent appropriate.”
As part of IDEA’s requirement to educate children in the least restrictive environment, schools are required to place children in general education classes unless doing so would be considered inappropriate due to a child’s level of disability. If a school decides that a child cannot access age or grade-level material within a general education classroom, it can remove him or her from that class for special instruction for no more than 50 percent of the school day.
The SSA program has several provisions for inclusive education for children with special needs. The SSA guidelines state that schools must be accessible to children with special needs through ramps and toilets, and that special equipment must be provided for visually impaired/disabled children. Additionally, each state must have at least one resource room in every district, block and cluster, where students can receive specialized coaching from a special educator or teacher. While the SSA does not have specific provisions for giving scholarships to students with special needs, the states are allowed to create their own scholarship schemes for these children. It means that special needs children will be educated in regular classrooms unless separate classrooms are absolutely necessary for the child’s needs. The law requires schools to “mainstream” (include) special needs children as much as possible in regular classrooms and school activities with non-disabled children. It also sets out how students with disabilities should receive their education. This is called an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).