4.1 National Commissions and Policies: Education Commission (1964), NPE and POA (1986, 1992), National Policy for Persons with Disabilities (2006)

The Constitution of India (26 November 1949) clearly states in the Preamble that everyone has the right to equality of status and of opportunity. The Article 41 of the Directive Principles of the Indian Constitution supports the right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases including disablement. Further, Article 45 commits to the provision of free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14 years. Based on this, the Constitution (86th Amendment) Act, 2002, has been enacted by the Parliament making education a fundamental right of all children in the age group of 6-14 years.

Kothari Commission or Education Commission (1964) was set up by the Government of India on 14 July 1964 under the chairmanship of Daulat Singh Kothari, then chairman of the University Grants Commission. The Commission's aimed at examining all aspects of the educational sector across the country. Among other objectives behind setting up of this Commission also included evolution of a general pattern of education. The commission, under the chairmanship of D. S. Kothari, was the sixth commission in India post independence and the first commission with comprehensive terms of reference on education. The Commission had submitted its Report on 29 June 1966; its recommendations were accommodated in India's first National Policy on Education in 1968. 

The recommendations are: 

·        Education and National Objectives,

·        Equalisation of Educational Opportunity

·        Educational Structure

·        Curricular Improvement

·        Improvement in the Methods of Teaching

·        Quality of Text Book

·        Teacher Education

·        Status of Teachers 


The National Policy on Education, 1986 (NPE, 1986), and the Programme of Action (1992) stresses the need for integrating children with disability with other groups. The objective to be achieved as stated in the NPE, 1986 is “to integrate the physically and mentally handicapped with general community as equal partners, to prepare them for normal growth and to enable them to face life with courage and confidence”.

Objectives of the National Policy of Education of 1986 and Programme of Action, 1992

The main objective of the National Policy of Education of 1986 and Programme of Action, 1992 was to establish a national system of education implies that all students irrespective of caste; creed, sex, and religion have access to education of a comparable quality. Actually, the objectives of this policy had been divided into the several aspects.


In relation to Elementary Education, followings are the major objectives of National Policy of Education 1986 are mainly:

·        Universal access and enrolment

·        Universal retention of children up to 14 years of age and 

·        A sustainable improvement in the quality education to enable all children to achieve essential levels of learning.


Regarding Secondary Education, National Policy of Education stressed on the improvement of the quality of secondary education. Effort to be made to provide computer literacy in as many secondary level institutions to make the students equipped with necessary computer skills.


Regarding higher education, National Policy of Education and Programme of Action of 1986 and 1992 emphasized that higher education should provide to the people with an opportunity to reflect on the critical social, economic, cultural, moral and spiritual issues.


Thus, the basic objectives of the National Policy of Education of 1986 and Programme of Action of 1992 emphasized that education must play a positive and interventionist role in correcting social and regional imbalance, empowering women, and in securing rightful place for the disadvantaged and the minorities. Government should take a strong determination and commitment to provide education for all, the priority areas being free and compulsory education, covering children with special needs, eradication of illiteracy, education for women’s equality and special focus on the education of S.C. s (Scheduled caste) and S.T. s(Scheduled tribes) and Minorities.


The educational policy as highlighted in the N.P.E. also emphasized on enhancing and promoting the vocationalisation of education, adult education, education for the mentally and physically challenged persons, non-formal education, open universities and distance learning, rural university, early childhood care and education. Delinking degrees from job was also one of the basic objectives of National Policy of Education of 1986.


National Policy For Persons with Disabilities, 2006

The Government of India formulated the National Policy for Persons with Disabilities in February 2006 which deals with Physical, Educational & Economic Rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. In addition the policy also focuses upon rehabilitation of women and children with disabilities, barrier free environment, social security, research etc.

The National Policy recognizes that Persons with Disabilities are valuable human resource for the country and seeks to create an environment that provides them equal opportunities, protection of their rights and full participation in society.

The focus of the policy is on the following

1.     Prevention of Disabilities - Since disability, in a large number of cases, is preventable, the policy lays a strong emphasis on prevention of disabilities. It calls for programme for prevention of diseases, which result in disability and the creation of awareness regarding measures to be taken for prevention of disabilities during the period of pregnancy and thereafter to be intensified and their coverage expanded.

2.     Rehabilitation Measures - Rehabilitation measures can be classified into three distinct groups:

1.     Physical rehabilitation, which includes early detection and intervention, counseling & medical interventions and provision of aids & appliances. It will also include the development of rehabilitation professionals.

2.     Educational rehabilitation including vocational education and

3.     Economic rehabilitation for a dignified life in society.

3.     Women with disabilities - Women with disabilities require protection against exploitation and abuse. Special programmes will be developed for education, employment and providing of other rehabilitation services to women with disabilities keeping in view their special needs. Special educational and vocation training facilities will be setup. Programmes will be undertaken to rehabilitate abandoned disabled women/ girls by encouraging their adoption in families, support to house them and impart them training for gainful employment skills. The Government will encourage the projects where representation of women with disabilities is ensured at least to the extent of twenty five percent of total beneficiaries.

4.     Children with Disabilities - Children with disabilities are the most vulnerable group and need special attention. The Government would strive to: -

o    Ensure right to care, protection and security for children with disabilities;

o    Ensure the right to development with dignity and equality creating an enabling environment where children can exercise their rights, enjoy equal opportunities and full participation in accordance with various statutes.

o    Ensure inclusion and effective access to education, health, vocational training along with specialized rehabilitation services to children with disabilities.

o    Ensure the right to development as well as recognition of special needs and of care, and protection of children with severe disabilities.

                        Barrier-free environment - Barrier-free environment enables people with disabilities to move about safely and freely, and use the facilities within the built environment. The goal of barrier free design is to provide an environment that supports the independent functioning of individuals so that they can participate without assistance, in every day activities. Therefore, to the maximum extent possible, buildings / places / transportation systems for public use will be made barrier free.

                        Issue of Disability Certificates - The Government of India has notified guidelines for evaluation of the disabilities and procedure for certification. The Government will ensure that the persons with disabilities obtain the disability certificates without any difficulty in the shortest possible time by adoption of simple, transparent and client-friendly procedures.

                        Social Security - Disabled persons, their families and care givers incur substantial additional expenditure for facilitating activities of daily living, medical care, transportation, assistive devices, etc. Therefore, there is a need to provide them social security by various means. Central Government has been providing tax relief to persons with disabilities and their guardians. The State Governments / U.T. Administrations have been providing unemployment allowance or disability pension. The State Governments will be encouraged to develop a comprehensive social security policy for persons with disabilities.

                        Promotion of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) - The National Policy recognizes the NGO sector as a very important institutional mechanism to provide affordable services to complement the endeavors of the Government. The NGO sector is a vibrant and growing one. It has played a significant role in the provisions of services for persons with disabilities. Some of the NGOs are also undertaking human resource development and research activities. Government has also been actively involving them in policy formulation, planning, implementation, monitoring and has been seeking their advice on various issues relating to persons with disabilities. Interaction with NGOs will be enhanced on various disability issues regarding planning, policy formulation and implementation. Networking, exchange of information and sharing of good practices amongst NGOs will be encouraged and facilitated. Steps will be taken to encourage and accord preference to NGOs working in the underserved and inaccessible areas. Reputed NGOs shall also be encouraged to take up projects in such areas.

                        Collection of regular information on Persons with Disabilities - There is a need for regular collection, compilation and analysis of data relating to socio-economic conditions of persons with disabilities. The National Sample Survey Organization has been collecting information on Socio-economic conditions of persons with disabilities on regular basis once in ten years since 1981. The Census has also started collection of information on persons with disabilities from the Census-2001. The National Sample Survey Organization will have to collect the information on persons with disabilities at least once in five years. The differences in the definitions adopted by the two agencies will be reconciled.

                        Research - For improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities, research will be supported on their socio-economic and cultural context, cause of disabilities, early childhood education methodologies, development of user-friendly aids and appliances and all matters connected with disabilities which will significantly alter the quality of their life and civil society's ability to respond to their concerns. Wherever persons with disabilities are subjected to research interventions, their or their family member or caregiver's consent is mandatory.

                        Sports, Recreation and Cultural life - The contribution of sports for its therapeutic and community spirit is undeniable. Persons with disabilities have right to access sports, recreation and cultural facilities. The Government will take necessary steps to provide them opportunity for participation in various sports, recreation and cultural activities.

4.2 National Acts: RCI Act, 1992, PWD Act, 1995, NT Act, 1999, RTE Act (2009 & 2012).

Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992

This act came into being to regulate the training of rehabilitation professionals and to maintain a Central Rehabilitation Register to certify rehabilitation professionals. Thus by this act, the Rehabilitation Council of India has become the apex body to further professional development of those in the field of disability rehabilitation.

The main aims of the Rehabilitation Council of India are:

The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protections of Right and Full Participation) Act, 1995 stresses the need to provide free of cost education to all children in an appropriate environment till they are 18 years old and further emphasise their right to measures like:

·        Transport facilities to students with disability or alternative financial incentives to the parents or guardians to enable their children with disability to attend schools;

·        Removal of architectural barriers from schools, colleges or other institutions imparting vocational and professional training;

·        Supply of books, uniforms and other materials to students with disability attending school;

·        Grant of scholarship to the students with disability

·        Setting up of appropriate fora for the redressal of grievances of parents regarding the placement of their children with disability;

·        Suitable modification in the examination system to eliminate purely mathematical questions for the benefit of blind students and students with low vision;

·        Restructuring of curriculum for the benefit of students with disability; and

·        Restructuring the curriculum for the benefit of students with hearing impairment to facilitate them to take only one language as part of their curriculum.

National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999

The objectives of the National Trust are:

Right To Education Act (2009 and 2012)

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE), is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted on 4 August 2009, which describes the modalities of the importance of free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 in India under Article 21a of the Indian Constitution. India became one of 135 countries to make education a fundamental right of every child when the Act came into force on 1 April 2010.

The major highlights of the RTE Act are:

·        It ensures free & compulsory education to all children within the age group of 6 to 14.

·        No school fees, capitation fees, charges or expenses are to be paid by a child to get elementary education.

·        The child or his parents are not to be subjected to any screening procedure for admission to school

·        Special training provision for a child of above six years not been admitted to any school or, unable to continue studies, to bring him par with his class and to be admitted in an age appropriate class. In such cases, the child can continue beyond 14 years to complete his/her elementary education.

·        If a school does not provide facility to complete elementary education then a child of that school can take a transfer to any other government (govt.) or government-aided school.

·        Each child is also entitled to free text books, writing material and uniform.

·        The appropriate govt. which means central or state government and its affiliates have to provide a school within 1 km walking distance for children in classes I to V and within 3 kms for those in classes VI to VIII. These schools are termed as ‘neighbourhood schools’.

·        The government has the responsibility to undertake school mapping to determine the location of the school.

·        25 percent of the seats in private schools are reserved for RTE students which are funded by the government. The Centre and the State share the joint responsibility to provide funds for RTE execution.

In pursuance of a resolution adopted in the 59th meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) held on 6th June, 2012, a Sub-Committee was constituted for assessment of implementation of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) in the context of No-Detention provision in the RTE Act, 2009. The Sub-Committee submitted its report in August, 2014. The report of the Sub-Committee was placed before CABE in its meeting held on 19.8.2015, wherein it was decided to request all States/UTs to share their views on the No-Detention policy. 28 States have shared their views on the No Detention policy out of which 23 States have suggested modification to the No Detention policy.

In pursuance of the decision taken in the CABE Committee meeting held on 19.8.2016, another Sub-Committee under the Chairpersonship of Prof. Vasudev Devnani, Minister of Education, Government of Rajasthan was constituted on 26.10.2015 inter-alia, to review the feedback received from States/UTs on the ‘No-Detention’ policy.

The recommendations of the Committee are as under:

·        There should be an examination at Class 5. It should be left to the States and UTs to decide whether this exam will be at the school, block, District or State Level.

·        If a child fails then allow the child an opportunity to improve. There should be additional instruction provided to children and the child should be given an opportunity to sit for another exam. If the child is unable to pass the exam in the second chance, then detain the child.

·        At Classes 6 and 7, there should be a school based exam for students.

·        At Class 8, there should be an external exam. In case the child fails, the child should be given additional instruction and then appear for an improvement exam. If fails again then detain. The matter regarding amendment to Section 16 of the RTE Act, 2009 is under the active consideration of this Ministry.


4.3 Programmes and Schemes: IEDC (1974, 1983), SSA (2000, 2011), RMSA, 2009, IEDSS, 2009

Integrated Education for Disabled Children (IEDC), In the 1970s, the government launched the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of IEDC. The scheme aimed to provide educational opportunities to learners with disability in regular schools and to facilitate their achievement and retention. Under the scheme, hundred per cent financial assistance is provided for setting up resource centres, surveys and assessment of children with disability, purchase and production of instruction materials and training and orientation of teachers. The scheme is currently being revised to reflect the paradigm shift towards inclusive education. The followings are some of the popular service delivery models of Integrated Education practiced in India:

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was launched to achieve the goal of Universalisation of Elementary Education. This adopts a ZERO rejection policy and uses an approach of converging various existing schemes and programmes.

It covers the following components under education for children with disability–

·        Early detection and identification

·        Functional and formal assessment

·        Educational placement

·        Aids and appliances

·        Support services

·        Teacher training

·        Resource support

·        Individual Educational Plan (IEP)

·        Parental training and community mobilisation

·        Planning and management ¾ Strengthening of special schools

·        Removal of architectural barriers

·        Research

·        Monitoring and evaluation

·        Girls with disability.

RMSA – Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, 2009

The successful implementation of this mission was from 2009-2010. However, it focuses to provide conditions for efficient growth, development, and equity for all students. This scheme also includes the following:

·        Multidimensional research,

·        Technical consulting,

·        Various implementations and

·        Funding support.


Core Purpose of RMSA

The core purpose and long term aim of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) is as follows:

·        To improve the overall quality of education imparted at the secondary level. And this is possible by through making all secondary schools conform to all the norms that the authority prescribes to.

·        To remove barriers of gender, socio-economic and disability. These barriers are more like social prejudice which only interfere with the process of widening one’s mindset.

·        Further, universal access to secondary level education by 2017 (which is the XII Five Year Plan).

·        Rather ambitious goals of universal retention of students by the year 2020.


Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS), 2009

The Scheme of Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) has been launched from the year 2009-10. This Scheme replaces the earlier scheme of Integrated Education for Disabled Children (IEDC) and provides assistance for the inclusive education of the disabled children in classes IX-XII. This scheme now subsumed under Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) from 2013. The States/UTs are also in the process of subsuming under RMSA as RMSA subsumed Scheme.


To enabled all students with disabilities, to pursue further four years of secondary schooling after completing eight years of elementary schooling in an inclusive and enabling environment.


The scheme covers all children studying at the secondary stage in Government, local body and Government-aided schools, with one or more disabilities as defined under the Persons with Disabilities Act (1995) and the National Trust Act (1999) in the class IX to XII, namely blindness, low vision, leprosy cured, hearing impairment, locomotory disabilities, mental retardation, mental illness, autism, and cerebral palsy and may eventually cover speech impairment, learning disabilities, etc. Girls with the disabilities receive special focus to help them gain access to secondary schools, as also to information and guidance for developing their potential. Setting up of Model inclusive schools in every State is envisaged under the scheme.


4.4 International Conventions and Policies: Salamanca Declaration and Framework, 1994; UNCRPD, 2006; MDG, 2015; INCHEON strategies

The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Disability Education (1994) emerged as a result of deliberations held by more than 300 participants representing 92 governments including India and 25 international organisations in June 1994. For furthering the objectives of education for all, it considered the fundamental policy shifts required to promote inclusive education. It emphasises that schools should accommodate all children regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic or other conditions. The term ‘Special Educational Needs’ refers to all those children and youth whose needs arise from disability or learning difficulties. The statement affirms, “Those with special educational needs must have access to regular schools which should accommodate them within a child centred pedagogy capable of meeting these needs”.

The Salamanca Statement says that:

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 2006

It is an international treaty that aims to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. The Convention became one of the most quickly supported human rights instruments in history, with strong support from all regional groups.

The purpose of UNCRPD is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.

The Convention covers a wide range of areas including:

·         health

·         education

·         employment

·         access to justice

·         personal security

·         independent living, and

·         access to information.

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), 2015

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals are eight goals that all 191 UN member states have agreed to try to achieve by the year 2015. The United Nations Millennium Declaration, signed in September 2000 commits world leaders to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and discrimination against women. The MDGs are derived from this Declaration, and all have specific targets and indicators.

The Eight Millennium Development Goals are:

·  to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger;

·  to achieve universal primary education;

·  to promote gender equality and empower women;

·  to reduce child mortality;

·  to improve maternal health;

·  to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases;

·  to ensure environmental sustainability; and

·  to develop a global partnership for development.

The MDGs are inter-dependent; all the MDG influence health, and health influences all the MDGs. For example, better health enables children to learn and adults to earn. Gender equality is essential to the achievement of better health. Reducing poverty, hunger and environmental degradation positively influences, but also depends on, better health.

INCHEON Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific

The High Level Inter-Governmental Mid-Point review meeting of Asia and Pacific Decade for Persons with Disabilities, 2013 - 2022 was held in Beijing with Indian delegation led by Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment.

Key Highlights of Meeting

·        United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) in cooperation with China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF) organized the meeting:

·        Review progress made by member States during Decade at mid-point in 2017 with regard to Incheon Strategy

·        Make all rights real for persons with disabilities in Asia and Pacific

·        Discuss future policy for building disabilities-inclusive societies using synergies between 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Incheon Strategy.

·        Address gaps and challenges in empowerment and inclusion of persons with disabilities.

What is Incheon Strategy?

·        The Incheon Strategy provides the Asian and Pacific region, and the world, with the first set of regionally agreed disability-inclusive development goals.

·        ESCAP secretariat is mandated to report every three years until the end of the Decade in 2022, on progress in the implementation of the Ministerial Declaration and the Incheon Strategy.

·        These goals are developed in consultations with governments and civil society stakeholders. Incheon Strategy comprises 10 goals, 27 targets, and 62 indicators building on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action and Biwako Plus Five towards an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights-based Society for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific.

·        Enables the region to improve the quality of life, and the fulfil the rights, of 650 million persons with disabilities.


4.5 Development of the educational system through interaction of various policy imperatives in the historical and contemporary contexts.

In the late 1800s and the first half of the 1900s, India was colonized by the British, and the few educational services for people with disabilities were offered in the form of segregated, special schools. Although the constitution outlined a policy of inclusive education that the country could have built off of, instead, the Ministry of Welfare (now the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment) was created, and the government started giving out grants to nonprofits to begin and maintain special schools for people with disabilities. Beginning in the 1970s, the Government of India started to lean towards more inclusive policies for students with disabilities, but they began with inclusion for some, those with “mild” disabilities, not all. The policies of the new millennium are the most inclusive of those to date.

Policy in India has always leaned towards inclusion. From the constitution to the Kothari Commission in the early days of the republic, to the 2005 Action Plan for Children and Youth with Disabilities and the 2006 National Policy for People with Disabilities recently, the Indian government tends to write inclusive policies on education. However, these policies often are not perfectly inclusive. Many of them tend to discriminate against people with “severe” disabilities, or people with intellectual disabilities, especially in terms of mainstream versus special schooling. Still, at present, the policies governing the education system are inclusive. At present, the problem is with implementation.

Legislative and Policy Frameworks India Prof. Anita Julka NCERT ...

The Government of India is trying to improve their education system and make it completely inclusive. However, it is important to be realistic about the time span in which this change will occur. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, or the Education for All initiative, was created not only for people with disabilities, but because of discrepancies in the general education sector. In the country with the second largest population in the world, with 25% of the population living under the poverty line, with a complicated social hierarchy, implementation might take a bit longer in comparison to countries with less poverty and more infrastructure for change. The importance of intention and effort should be recognized in this situation, as well as the immense improvements that the country has already made toward inclusion.