This is a very sensitive topic especially in India. Our country has one of the largest populations in the world. To choose an education direction for your child is already difficult as a parent; when doing the same for a kid with special needs, it becomes more challenging. India has only recently started seeing special needs education as necessary. We have over 27 million people who have special needs. That is 2.2 percent of our entire population. 4.6 million people from that group fall under the 10-19 age group. There are 2 million kids under six who have some of the other disabilities. Let us have a look at the present situation and dilemma around special needs education in our country:
- The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) have facilitated different schools for special needs children. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) encourages special needs children to be included in regular classrooms.
- Colleges often refuse admission for special children based on their biased thinking that special needs children won’t have the calibre to complete certain courses.
- We don’t have a central body guideline regarding the policies and provisions for these special children’s education. This leaves the decision making power to the colleges and schools to take a call on themselves.
Many economic, logistics and social limitations for kids with special needs are wholly accepted in normal education institutions. However, we see some progress towards this, and the quality of special schools is also significantly increasing. I believe both the choices should be viable and made accessible so that the parents can have the luxury of choice.