3.1 Curriculum domains at Secondary level

Children between the ages of 10 to 13 or 14 years are grouped under secondary level. Once the primary group of children achieve 80% of the curriculum content in the primary level, they can be promoted to secondary level. In case of children with low ability the teachers have to continue teaching in those tasks which the students have not achieved. They are grouped as Primary II. Though the same domains/.core areas as in the primary level are included in curriculum at secondary level, the content and complexity of the activities is increased keeping in mind the learning characteristics of children at this level. This is also noticed in general education. For example, in every class, students have to study the subjects English, regional language, Hindi, mathematics, science and social studies/environmental science. The complexity of content in each subject is increased in every class keeping in mind the learning characteristics of children. Similarly, for children with mental retardation also, the curriculum content in each domain/core area is the extension of curriculum at primary level.

Personal skills
With systematic planning and teaching, the high ability group of children with mental retardation learn to eat and drink, dress, brush and bathe on their own by the time they reach secondary level. However, some of them may require minimum assistance in bathing and dressing. At this level the following curriculum content needs to be covered as an extension of primary curriculum.

The curriculum content should cover activities such as eating of different types of breakfast items and sweets appropriately (eg. Eating gulab jamon/rasagulla/payasam with spoon, taking a small piece of chapatti with right hand and taking a small quantity of curry/dal and eating), showing appropriate eating/table manners when children participate in social functions and cafeteria, carrying water, filing water in bottles, folding manageable clothes, bed covers/sheets, cutting pictures, pasting, folding papers and inserting them into covers and the other routine activities. Never underestimate student’s ability. Expose him to various activities and assist in learning.

Social skills
To be accepted as a member of the group and part of the community, one needs to have smooth interpersonal relationships for which adequate language and communications skills are required. Often children with mental retardation fail to interact with groups meaningfully in an acceptable manner. It is observed that most of the children with mental retardation have limited vocabulary and have difficulty in speaking in sentences, understanding and following instructions and narrating incidents in a sequence. Various activities should be planned to develop these skills at secondary level.

Acceptable behaviour towards persons of opposite sex needs to be taught subtly and constantly during social situation at this state. Do’s and dont’s should be clearly specified to avoid embarrassment. This training should be continued into prevocational stage also.

Occupational skills
At this level the children start helping parents/family members in many of the household activities. Performing these activities require application of functional reading, writing and arithmetic skills. For example, when the student is asked to measure two cups of rice, he should have learned counting as a part of number skills which he applies while performing the activity. In case of low ability children (Primary II – 7-14 years, Prevocational-II – 15-18 years) measuring of two cups of rice can be an activity for teaching counting. Identifying and reading labels on edible items/writing a shopping list are other examples. Similarly activities such as washing clothes, moping floor, wiping, storing, or packing requires knowledge of functional academics and fine motor skills.




3.2 Curriculum domains at Pre- vocational level

Students with mental retardation within the age range of 15 to 18 years belong to prevocational group. At prevocational level children are of two different groups - prevocational-I (high ability group) and prevocational-II (low ability group) as discussed earlier. However, the major focus of curriculum at this level is to prepare students to acquire skills which prepare them to live independently as far as possible. Independence implies personal, social and occupational independence. Hence, much stress is given on a more functional curriculum. As it is a preparatory stage for the future of the young people with mental retardation, most of the training emphasis is application oriented and should include training in natural environments. The curriculum is naturally the extension of secondary level curriculum.

Personal skills
The extension of secondary level curriculum under each domain is discussed below.

Once the child learns eating and drinking by self, the skills can be further extended to make them a part of independent living skills.

Generally, when the child grows older, we do not provide glass of water to him/her, rather we expect him/her to get water from the filter, refrigerator or pot and drink on his own. Children with mental retardation also are expected to learn all these skills. In the school, teacher can train the students to:

In order to practice and maintain the learnt skills, these activities should be carried out at home. Family members can be informed to carry out the activities at home.
By regular practice at home and in school these activities can be made as part of routine activities of the students during pre-vocational period.

Eating: In addition to self-feeding, eating behaviour includes
(a) appropriate manners while eating, (b) serving food to others; (c) arranging table (d) cleaning the table, (e) storing the left over food, (f) cleaning the utensils, (g) giving order for food at restaurant, etc.

Parents can be informed to train the students at home in serving food for self as well as for others. While training, the sequence in serving can be:

During the initial stage of training, unbreakable bowls may be used to avoid possibility of damage of the utensil.

Students should also be taught to clean the utensils. Begin with, simple dishes like plates and small bowls (unbreakable) can be used.

Points to remember while teaching washing utensils:

Dressing: The students with mental retardation need to learn how to maintain their own clothes. This includes:

In the school, the teacher can train the prevocational group students by instructing them to: ? Keep the dress neat (by using napkins for wiping).

Students during prevocational period should also be taught to select their clothes, for themselves. Hence, the family members can be informed to give them opportunity to:

In class, initiative conversation on above topics and elicit responses from the students.

Social skills: Social behaviour of the students plays a vital role in their vocational habilitation. Limitations in social skills of the disabled students form the major barrier in the process of integration. During the pre-vocational stage, students are expected to behave appropriately in different settings, use public places appropriately, be able to seek permission for using belongings of others and should be able to participate in social functions independently. All these behaviours require student’s competency in language and communication.

In school, focus on:

Home activities can include:

In addition to developing appropriate social behaviours, we have to reduce the socially inappropriate behaviour through behaviour management techniques.

Menstrual hygiene: An important skill to be taught to the girls with mental retardation during secondary/prevocational level is menstrual hygiene. To make the girl independent (as far as possible) in personal skills, lessen the burden on the mother and avoid embarrassing situation, right type of training can be provided to the young adolescents at home. While providing training on menstrual hygiene, take care of the following points.

While training in menstrual hygiene, instruct the student to -

Shaving: Proper fine motor skill and eye-hand coordination are important pre-requisite skills for teaching shaving. Following points are to be considered while training.

As the name – “prevocational” indicates, this stage is most important for “preparing the students for suitable vocations”. Through the joint efforts of school and home, appropriate work habits (punctuality, regularity, sincerity, persistence), proper work behaviour, hand functioning, eye hand coordination, and required community living skills (travelling, shopping, banking skills) can be developed in the students.

Eye hand coordination and hand functioning which are important prerequisite skills for any vocation can be improved by:

In the school, engage the students in various simulated activities to assess the interests of the student.

Teach various community living skills by organizing following activities for students –

Parents can be instructed to follow a daily activity schedule for their child (with disability) at home. Depending on the improvement in various skills, the activities can be increased. This schedule will help to discipline the students behaviour and improve work habits in them. While selecting the activities for the students, the socio-cultural factors, socio-economic status, sex and abilities of the students need to be considered.

Domestic skills:
Under domestic skills the prevocational group of students can be taught housekeeping skills by involving them in the domestic activities like:

While involving the students in cooking proceed form simple to complex task.

Before teaching the students to light the stove they should be taught to switch off the stove. To begin training in cooking activities the mother/family members should be near the student throughout the training period and should give necessary physical and verbal assistance. Of course, for many of the cooking activities, (preparing idly, dosa, tea, coffee, etc.) the students need to learn functional academics (measurement) which is discussed in detail in part II of this unit.

 Recreation skills:
Like us, persons with disabilities also require time for recreation. Many a time, they are unable to decide the activities for their recreation.

At school, fix a particular time for recreational activities when students can be given opportunity to participate in various activities like:

Family members can involve students in:

·         playing with siblings 

3.3 Curriculum domains at Vocational level

Curriculum for vocational education can be defined as a systematic organization of instructional content designed to provide students with a sequence of meaningful vocational and related activities conducted by an agency for the benefit of the student for an economically useful vocation.

It prepares the learners for jobs that are based in manual or practical activities, traditionally non-academic in nature, and related to specific trade, occupation or vocation.

Also, In terms of development of adaptable vocational curriculum, there should be account of an individual’s cognitive capacities, needs, abilities as well as his/her interests.

Vocational curriculum methods include questionnaires, analysis of basic vocational behaviors and direct observations of community job situations.

While preparing the curriculum for vocational education, a combination of all these methods can be been used. After identifying the suitable job, important areas of curriculum are identified by conducting interviews and collecting questionnaire response from employers, supervisors and others regarding the requirement of the specific skills for employment success.


·        To develop and exhibit an understanding and enhance current level of aspects related to self.

·        To learn and apply occupational skills.

·        To imbibe work appropriate behaviors and expectations as well as complete the level appropriate work.

·        To develop skills and competencies of employability.

·        To develop an understanding of self advocacy and its related skills.

·        To develop skills related to leisure and recreation.

Domains of Curriculum Development

1.     Basic Academics

2.     Occupational

3.     Workplace behavior

4.     Employability

5.     Self- advocacy

6.     Leisure time and recreational activities

1. Basic Academics

a)    Self-Awareness

                                i.            Tells own name, address and phone numbers

                             ii.            Aware of own age and Date of birth

                           iii.            Knows emergency helpline numbers

                           iv.            Aware of own interests and abilities

b)    Family information

                                i.            Tells name and contact information of family members

                             ii.            Tells contact information of family members in case of emergency

c)     Job-site information

                                i.            Designation

                             ii.            Tells the address and phone numbers of job site(s)

                           iii.            Recognizes coworkers by name

                           iv.            Writes leave letter

                             v.            Familiar with the workplace infrastructure

                           vi.            Uses clock/watch to follow work schedule


d)   Personal finance

                                i.            Identifies money

                             ii.            Is able to do basic cash transactions

                           iii.            Knows basic banking (withdrawal, deposits and e-banking)

2. Occupational

a)     Independent travelling

                                                              i.      Identifies route to and from work

                                                           ii.      Identifies traffic signals

                                                         iii.      Follows traffic rules independently

b)    Dresses appropriately

                                                              i.      Wears clean and proper dress which is appropriate to the situation independently

c)     Maintains personal hygiene

                                                              i.      Shaves regularly/maintains menstrual hygiene

                                                           ii.      Keeps fingernails neat

                                                         iii.      Takes care of toilet needs

                                                         iv.      Takes clean food and follows meal time manners

3. Workplace Behavior

a)    Etiquettes and manners

a)     Respects supervisor

b)    Cooperates with coworkers

c)     Controls emotions

d)    Requests help if necessary

e)     Respects others belongings and takes care of personal belongings

b)    Communication and social behavior

a)     Maintains friendship

b)    Follows instructions

c)     Communicates needs

d)    Uses mobile phone

e)     Knows basic social dealings and greetings

f)      Accept criticism

g)     Joins social activities in the workplace

c)     Regularity and punctuality

a)     Comes to work regularly and on time

b)    If late, follows job site rules

c)     Informs when takes leave and provides reason

d)    Follows departure routine

d)    Quality and quantity of work

a)     Completes assigned work effectively and efficiently

b)    Allows improvement in quality of work

c)     Reports work problems

d)    Keeps work area clean

4. Employability

a)    Career preparation

a)     Preparation of bio data and portfolio

b)    Development of soft skills(interview skills- appearance, body language, confidence and fluent communication skills)

b)    Job exploration

a)     Visits job sites

b)    Maintains contacts

c)     Looks at advertisements and fixes interview independently

d)    Discusses with parents and friends

5. Self-Advocacy

a)    Basic rights

a)     Appeals when rights are denied

b)    Aware of need of voting

c)     Asks for explanation

d)    Aware of right of an employee(wages, leave and leisure)

e)     Expresses freely the needs and rights

b)    Decision making

a)     Aware of what’s happening in society

b)    Looks at alternatives/choices

c)     Decides while voting

c)     Organizing self-advocacy groups

a)     Arranges and conducts meeting and activities with friends(like minded individuals)

b)    Discusses own problems

c)     Finds solutions

d)    Visits the other group members who need support

e)     Plans and chooses appropriate activities

6. Leisure time and Recreational Activities

a)    Communicates his/her interest outside of work

b)    Is able to pursue his/her interest areas independently

c)     Plans and goes out with friends and families

d)   Attends religious functions and ceremonies

3.4 Rehabilitation of PwIDs under National Skill development Scheme (NSDS by MSJ&E)

Persons with disability in India face many challenges when looking to develop employable skills and in gaining meaningful employment. While India has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with disability (UNCRPD), persons with disability continue to face many difficulties in the labour market.

According to census 2011, there are 2.68 Crore Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in India (1.50 crore male and 1.18 crore female PwDs). Even though, disabled people constitute a significant percentage of the population of India, their need for meaningful employment largely remains unmet, in spite of implementation of “The Persons with Disability Act, 1995”. In the overall population, the number of disabled is proportionately higher in rural areas, accentuated by general poverty considerations and poor access to health services. The rural disabled are significantly disconnected from skills and markets.

The Scheme of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt. of India, simplifies and facilitates procedure for easy access to Govt. support for NGOs with the aim to widen the scope and range of programmes. It will address the unmet need of over 95 percent Indian citizens with disabilities who have not had access to services so far.

The existing Skill Training Landscape for PwDs 

·        National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).

·        Vocational training courses offered by National Institutes of Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities and its affiliate organisations like National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation (NHFDC), National Trust etc. 

·        Ministry of Labour and Employment supervising more than 20 Vocational Rehabilitation Centres for Handicapped (VRCHs), more than 10,000 ITIs and more than 1000 Employment Exchanges. 

·        Technical and Vocational courses, being offered through Community colleges, IITs and Universities, affiliated with Ministry of Human Resources Development. 

·        NGOs focusing on vocational training and skill development. 

·        Private sector training organizations: Under the CSR initiative, many organizations have done exemplary work. 

·        Public Sector Undertakings have also contributed substantially to vocational training of persons with disabilities. 

·        National Rural Livelihood Mission of Ministry of Rural Development.

·        National Urban Livelihood Mission of Ministry of Urban Development.

·        Vocational training / livelihood programs of other Central Govt. Ministries

The National Action Plan For Skill Training Of Pwds

A National Action Plan for Skilling the Persons with Disabilities has been prepared by the Department of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) with the following main components:-

A Project Monitoring Unit (PMU) to be set up in the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. The PMU would have the following components :

·        Training need assessment unit

·        Content Generation unit

·        Training Monitoring and Certification unit

·        Employer Connect unit

·        IT Unit to provide support for creation of E-learning modules, monitoring of training, Ecertification and training centres / creation and maintenance of a job portal.

The vocational / skill training would be provided by a network of skill training providers led by NGOs, private training institutions and Public Sector/Govt. Sector training institutions like VRCs. The vocational training would be provided by a cluster of training providers scattered over the country, having an established track record of providing skill training with high employability ratio. These training partners would be provided outcome based financial support by Deptt. Of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) and Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE). Synergistic support would be provided to these training providers by the National Institutes of DEPwD, training institutions of Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, other Central Ministries and State Governments.

NSDC has already granted a provisional approval for creation of a Sector Skill Council for PwDs. Staffing and fully operationalising the Sector Skill Council is likely to take 5 to 6 months. Once, the Sector Skill Council is fully operational, it will through interactions with industry and other Sector Skill Councils, devise the job roles and occupational standards for PwDs, which will become a basis for deciding the training curricula for various skill training courses. Till the Sector Skill Council is fully operational, the Committee referred to above, will, while approving the training partners, also decide on the curriculum to be adopted by the training provider for the skill training of PwDs. Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) and National Institutes (NIs), associated with DEPwD will be associated by the Committee in creating a homogenous training curriculum for various jobs.

3.5 Implications of placement for inclusion in Community, Documentation, Record Maintenance and Reporting


It is an act or an instance of providing official information or evidence or that serves as a record. It should provide evidence of a process with a purpose, whatever the format it should fully explain the process, highlighting various aspects of the experiences or events.

At vocational level, the following are the stages and areas of documentation-


It involves assessment of the vocational trainee or the student using the checklist as mentioned in the curriculum. This includes documenting-

·        Demographic data

·        Prevocational records and performances using information gathered through interviews of parents, the vocational trainee, the educator, observations, teacher made tests (CRT) and use of tools like VAPS.

Prioritization of goals-

It involves selection of goals for the student on the following basis-

·        Interests

·        Strengths

·        Abilities

Implementation – The work at this stage can be undertaken applying various principles, methodologies and strategies like experiential learning, learning by doing, adopting workshop method for developing skill sets for leisure and recreational activities and creating real life situations by providing internship opportunities to the student. 

Evaluation –This last step involves documenting the various methods and techniques used for evaluation.

Under it, the following methods can be used by the trainer for evaluating the trainee-

·        Time limited work trial (in all curriculum domains - skill wise)

·        Internship opportunities

·        Mock interviews

Also, the techniques that can be used are the following-

·        Observation (in all generic and specific skill areas)

·        Interview (of student trainee, potential co-workers and employers)

In the process of documentation, an integral part to be considered is -  

Report Writing- It is a process of preparing a formal written document that describes in detail an event, situation or occurrence, usually as the result of observation or inquiry. 

Or simply, it is a written record of the vocational trainee based upon his/her initial assessment done, goal selected, implementation process and subsequent evaluation.

Report writing includes two basic aspects that need to be considered. They are-

1.     Report Maintenance –It involves maintaining records of the trainee in written form wherein time duration taken is 6 months.

The purpose of report maintenance is the following-

·        It is important for further program  planning, implementation and evaluation.

·        It is used as a baseline data estimate for long term changes related to performance of the trainee.

·        It acts as a proof for administrative purposes.

·       It is useful for parents who want to see the level of performance of their    children.

·        It is used to meet the information needs for other educators.

2.  Reporting- We are taking this aspect to be done on annual/yearly basis. At vocational level, it is focused mainly on reporting to the administration of the training institution, parents of the trainee and the prospective employer. However, this approach (of reporting to prospective employers) is not followed at prevocational and secondary level.


The development of and subsequent documentation of a Curriculum for Vocational Education serves a crucial purpose. It provides a continuum to the needs of the student and removes the challenge and doubt of the general teacher in the inclusive setup to let ‘no child be left behind’ in the school system regardless of ability or disability. It also ensures that all students are able to unfurl their potential and receive equal and accessible high quality training in a vocation to make them economically independent.