DISCLAIMER: In this video, we have used the words disabled and disability instead of differently-abled only because most of the legislations use them. We do not intend to insult or offend anybody.
Of all its big education reform goals, the Modi government has constantly spoken about inclusive education, through its “Accessible India” campaign. However, the recently submitted draft National Education Policy has come under scrutiny for not taking into account the needs of those who arguably require the most state support — the differently-abled community. In fact, the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) has criticised the draft of the New Education Policy for being “profoundly regressive” and “overwhelmingly undemocratic”.
Today, we explore the status of education rights for the differently-abled community. From planning to implementation, there seems to be a whole lot of confusion as to what needs to be done to make school systems more inclusive. Despite there being bright spots like the ‘Science beyond Sight’ initiative or the ‘Samarpan’ initiative from Madhya Pradesh, there is a lot more that must be done. Yes, governments over the years have launched schemes, and there are several citizen-led efforts to support the differently-abled. But this has not been enough. Our focus needs to shift from rhetoric to implementation. From promises to practice.