Education - Special or Inclusive?
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We all know that education is a basic human right. The Right to Education Act in India describes the importance of free and compulsory education for all children between the ages 6 and 14, regardless of caste, creed, sex, religion etc. This includes differently-abled children. These children are, to an extent, receiving this education. But the quality of the education often isn’t good enough for them. Also, many schools do not have the necessary infrastructure to support these children.
This is where special schools come in. Special schools are schools specifically for children with disabilities, with trained teachers, different equipment and other provisions just for the differently-abled children. At the same time, there are also inclusive schools, where both differently-abled and other children mingle and learn together. Of course, both have their pros and cons. Special schools cater to the children’s needs, but how will they learn to mix with the rest of society once they grow up? The children will get whatever they need while at school, but what about at all other times? Inclusive schools deal with both these problems to an extent, but what about the children’s comfort? It’s a very common scenario for a differently-abled child to be bullied and made fun of by the other children. The child’s mental health can be severely affected by this. Also, the provisions in an inclusive school may not be enough to cater to a differently-abled child’s every need, and he/she may lag behind in classes, or feel uncomfortable in an environment that’s supposed to be like a second home.
What I’m trying to say here is, there are good options for the education of the differently-abled, but they have major drawbacks as well. When I think about it, I just can’t decide which system of education is better, and more beneficial for the differently-abled children. What do you think?