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Inclusive Education and Community Based Rehabilitation

We invite you to share outcomes of discussion forums, conferences/seminars/research on Inclusive education as stated in Sustainable Goals Agenda 17, NEP 2020 and Community based rehabilitation as a strategy to enhance quality of life of people with disabilities and their effective inclusion in the development programmes in India and other parts of the world.

Kindly share the documents to IRIEC at ideasianetwork2013@gmail.com

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Introduction:

Sustainable Development Goal 4 aims at ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. This goal ensures that all girls and boys complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030.

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National Education Policy - 2020

The National Educational Policy (NEP), 2020 attempts to address the growing inequality and inequity plaguing country’s education system today. Among others, the NEP 2020 recognizes high dropout rates among socio-economic strata and vulnerable minorities. More importantly, there is recognition of barriers that lead to inefficient resource allocations such as small school campuses and causes for lesser participation of the girl child in rural areas. It also recognizes the unmet educational needs of children living in geographically difficult regions.  This analysis piece takes a quick tour of key recommendations on inclusive education and records some of the key challenges that the NEP has to take head on.

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Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs)

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Recognising their special needs, the NEP 2020 recommends a series of policies and schemes such as targeted scholarships, conditional cash transfers to incentivize parents to send their children to school, providing bicycles for transport that have worked in the past to increase enrollment, to create more representation.(https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/equitable-and-inclusive-vision-in-the-nep-2020/).

The NEP 2020 recognises that certain groups are grossly underrepresented in the existing educational systems. To specially address their educational needs, the NEP has clubbed gender identities, socio-cultural identities, geographical identities, disabilities, and socio-economic conditions to create a new social group called SEDGs. The policy bases most of its objectives on creating inclusion around these groups. As mentioned earlier, these groups have higher dropout rates due to a plethora of reasons, ranging from lack of accessibility for tribal communities (geographic) to historical exclusion of communities from systems of education for the socio-cultural identities categorization.

Inclusive education means all children in the same classrooms, in the same schools. It means real learning opportunities for groups who have traditionally been excluded and not only children with disabilities, but speakers of minority languages too. Inclusive systems require changes at all levels of society.

(https://www.unicef.org/education/inclusive-education#:~:text=Inclusive%20education%20means%20all%20children,speakers%20of%20minority%20languages%20too.&text=Inclusive%20systems%20require%20changes%20at%20all%20levels%20of%20society.)

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“Children who learn together, learn to live together" Inclusive education is a child’s right, not a privilege. Inclusion promotes quality and equitable education for all, without exclusion, including those who may be potentially marginalized by learning need or social position. An increasing awareness about the rights of children with disability to have access to the same educational services as children without a disability has led to the idea of inclusive education (UNESCO International Bureau of Education, 2009). Accordingly, the UNESCO (2005) stated that inclusive education is an approach that expresses how to change educational structures and other learning atmospheres to meet the needs of the variety of learners. Inclusion highlights opportunities for an equal involvement of individuals with disabilities (physical, social and emotional) when possible into typical education, but leaves accessible the probability of individual selections and possibilities for special aid and accommodations for persons who need it and want it (Rasmitadila & Tambunan, 2018). The active call for inclusivity is boldly stipulated in the Salamanca Statement (UNESCO, 1994), which adheres nations to adopt the framework of action in providing inclusion and equity through education of children with perceived differences. The advocacy of the statement vigorously defends that inclusion and participation are inherent human rights (UNESCO, 2009a). Figure 1 illustrates major conventions and declarations which geared movement towards inclusive education that we are witnessing today. ( https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/inclusive_education_final_-_january_2021.pdf).

The Sustainable Development Goals Report - 2019

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Four years after signing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, countries have taken action to integrate the Goals and targets into their national development plans and to align policies and institutions behind them. The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019 uses the latest available data to track global progress on the SDGs and to take stock of how far we have come in realizing our commitments.

The report shows that, while advances have been made in some areas, monumental challenges remain. The evidence and data, spotlight areas that require urgent attention and more rapid progress to realize the 2030 Agenda’s far-reaching vision. Member States agree that these challenges and commitments are interrelated and call for integrated solutions. It is therefore imperative to take a holistic view of the 2030 Agenda and to identify the highest impact areas in order to target interventions.

The most urgent area for action is climate change. If we do not cut record-high greenhouse gas emissions now, global warming is projected to reach 1.5°C in the coming decades. As we are already seeing, the compounded effects will be catastrophic and irreversible: increasing ocean acidification, coastal erosion, extreme weather conditions, the frequency and severity of natural disasters, continuing land degradation, loss of vital species and the collapse of ecosystems.These effects, which will render many parts of the globe uninhabitable, will affect the poor the most. They will put food production at risk, leading to widespread food shortages and hunger, and potentially displace up to 140 million people by 2050. The clock for taking decisive actions on climate change is ticking. ( https://afri-can.org/the-sustainable-development-goals-report-2019/)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Disability

During the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20, Member States agreed to launch a process to develop a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), whose achievement period concludes in 2015. The SDGs are to address all three dimensions of sustainable development (environmental, economic and social) and be coherent with and integrated into the United Nations global development agenda beyond 2015. The envisaged SDGs have a time horizon of 2015 to 2030.

Disability is referenced in various parts of the SDGs and specifically in parts related to education, growth and employment, inequality, accessibility of human settlements, as well as data collection and monitoring of the SDGs, for instance:

  • Goal 4 on inclusive and equitable quality education and promotion of life-long learning opportunities for all focuses on eliminating gender disparities in education and ensuring equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities. In addition, the proposal calls for building and upgrading education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and also provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all.

  • In Goal 8: to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, the international community aims to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.

  • Closely linked is Goal 10, which strives to reduce inequality within and among countries by empowering and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all, including persons with disabilities.

  • Goal 11 would work to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe and sustainable. To realize this goal, Member States are called upon to provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, such as persons with disabilities. In addition, the proposal calls for providing universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, particularly for persons with disabilities.

  • Goal 17 stresses that in order to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development, the collection of data and monitoring and accountability of the SDGs are crucial. Member States are called upon to enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS), which would significantly increase the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data that is also disaggregated by disability. (source- https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/about-us/sustainable-development-goals-sdgs-and-disability.html)

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