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School Readiness: Opening Doors for Inclusive Education

School Readiness: Opening Doors for Inclusive Education

What is Inclusive Education?

Inclusive Education is education for all irrespective of differences. According to UNESCO, inclusive education is seen as “a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all learners through increasing participation in learning, cultures and communities, and reducing exclusion from education and from within education.” Inclusive education means that all students attend and are welcomed by their neighborhood schools in age-appropriate, regular classes and are supported to learn, contribute and participate in all aspects of the life of the school. 

What is not Inclusion?

  1. Educating children in regular classes but different course of study.
  2. Educating children in special segregated environments in regular school
  3. Dumping children with special needs into the regular classroom
  4. Educating children in part-time in special school and part-time in regular school

What is the meaning of School Readiness?

Is school readiness about child being ready for education or is the school ready to offer adequate facilities? There are many questions which arise when it comes to think about practicing inclusive education. The more the questions, the more are the chances of finding solutions. Some of the other questions related to school readiness are as follows:

  1. Does your school have a mission statement that expresses the belief that the professionals and other staff strive to meet the needs of all students? Is this mission statement discussed by staff and used to guide instructional practices?
  2. Have teachers had opportunities to discuss their concerns about inclusion and have steps been taken to address these concerns?
  3. Has planning for inclusion included classroom teachers, special education teachers, other support staff, administrators, parents, and students?
  4. Have you clarified the expectations for students with disabilities who will be integrated into classrooms?
  5. Has shared planning time and possibly shared instructional time been arranged for teams of teachers?
  6. Have staff members received adequate professional development on pertinent topics (for example, collaboration, behavior management, curricular adaptation)?
  7. Has the plan for creating an inclusive school addressed the needs of all students, not just the need of students with disabilities?
  8. Have staff members become comfortable with working collaboratively?
  9. Has a pilot program been planned prior to full implementation?
  10. Have start-up resources been allocated for the inclusion effort?

These questions subtly hint at various challenges that need serious attention.

  1. The number of disabled children is very large.
  2. Their problems are very complex. 
  3. Available resources are very limited. Lack of additional manpower required to handle specific needs. Children drop out from mainstream schools due to lack of accessibility.
  4. Lack of awareness leads to demotivated and prejudiced social attitudes. Issues with Acceptance for different educational needs.
  5. Lack of suitable, quality trained, good special education professionals. 

Some measures for implementing Inclusive Education in India

  1. The Right to Education (RTE) must apply to all citizens of India.  State and central. Governments, as well as all the other social actors, should recognize the importance of a broadened concept of inclusive education that addresses the diverse needs of all learners. 
  2. A standard policy and norms of inclusion needs to be implemented in all schools and throughout Indian education system. 
  3. The preparation of teachers for special education programs should be planned differently, as the aim of these programs would be to integrate disabled persons in their own environment and community. 
  4. Differently-abled children should be treated equally as the normal children and instead of looking them in sympathy their talents and abilities should be recognized for their self-respect and welfare of the society.  
  5. Necessary school supplies such as audio learning or textbooks in Braille should be made available. Suitable modification to examination system may be required, so as to eliminate pure mathematical and logical assessments. 
  6.  Teachers attitudes towards inclusive education could be formed and developed in the context of an educational system which can provide some specific conditions in order to have a good practice in this field. 

It is imperative to understand that inclusion is more than a method of educating students with special needs.  Success for inclusion needs collaborative efforts of all stakeholders. The road to achieving inclusive education is a long one, on which challenges and opportunities will arise. But if we start now with the first step we will certainly move forward towards our goal.

Healing the world… one campaign at a time!

Healing the world… one campaign at a time!

If there is one thing the world needs more than money, it is acceptance. Acceptance of those who can’t speak, hear, or comprehend. Shunning stereotypes around disability is the need of the hour, and as human beings, if we don’t take stock of the situation now, we are headed for utter doom and despair. There are several institutions and government-led bodies that deliberate over such issues, but India has a long way to go in making a difference that truly lasts.

With that being said, 2017 has been a pivotal year for MBCN, as it has led two distinguished campaigns revolving around World Disability Day and sign language. Both campaigns have not just highlighted the pressing issues at hand regarding disability, but have also educated the masses and raised awareness in a way that has had lasting effects.

Let’s start with #ConnectingSigns

This was an initiative by The Ponty Chadha Foundation, which not just taught the masses about sign language and its importance in society, but has also made people realise that specially-abled children, despite their disabilities, have numerous talents and skills that can shape the world in a wonderful and meaningful way.

The MBCN teachers and students went to several institutions and local eateries to share important knowledge on sign language, and taught different gestures, all of which were truly enlightening.

What really topped it all, was the Indian national anthem in sign language, which garnered 2,144,759 views on Facebook, besides reaching 9,664,507 viewers. In addition this, there were 25,000+ shares that really got the ball rolling in the right direction for the overall purpose of this campaign. In a nutshell, many hearts were touched on virtual as well as off-line platforms.

#BeyondDisability

This World Disability Day, the teachers and students at MBCN were on a mission to raise awareness about differently-abled kids, as they went about spreading their messages and thoughts across 100 schools in Noida. Besides generating hope to build a greater understanding around disability, the initiative gave way to open minds and positive attitudes.

Building a child’s self-esteem and self-worth is of paramount importance, especially when it comes to children with disability. Such children have so much to offer, but our regressive ways fail to take this into consideration. According to MBCN teachers, a loving and generous attitude is not just curtailed to the school space, but must be practiced at home too.

Through the #BeyondDisability campaign, the MBCN teachers managed to reach 100,000 students, and instill the power of positivity and love in all.

World Disability Day Celebrations at MBCN

World Disability Day Celebrations at MBCN

Being disabled should not be a reason for low self-esteem or lack of confidence, nor should it be a reason to view and treat people differently. As a society, if we help the specially-abled, we not only boost their confidence, but also help in improving their mental as well as physical health.

On the World Disability Day this year, MBCN took various initiatives to spread awareness around disability, and helped educate the masses on the importance of inclusiveness, apathy and action, through their campaign #BeyondDisability. The various activities carried out by MBCN and its staff were exclusively featured in India’s leading newspapers and media channels, such as Hindustan Times, Amar Ujala and Navodaya Times. Besides this, a live coverage was also showcased on social media channels, that gave real-time updates of the events to everyone on a global scale. Needless to say, the impact has been immense, and the change has stirred many mindsets across the nation.

The MBCN teachers successfully went from school to school, sowing fruitful seeds of thought that centred around an equal society that goes beyond disability for all. Spreading awareness about disability, they were the torchbearers of change who led the mission to its stupendous success. A robust call to action was urged through social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, wherein Dr. Vandana Sharma, Director of MBCN, shared her thoughts and views regarding children with disability, and how despite the uphill struggles, there is always a way and solution that gives room to a brighter tomorrow.

Numerous case studies were also highlighted, which brilliantly captured the essence of the campaign. Parents, along with their specially-abled children, shared some thought-provoking experiences, which struck an emotional connect with the audience. They stressed on the importance of a loving and caring environment, not only in schools, but at home as well, which helps children flourish, despite their physical or mental drawbacks.

In addition to this, many specially-abled children came forward to share their success stories and spoke on how they have not let social taboos and stereotypes keep them from achieving their goals and dreams. All in all, the #BeyondDisability campaign at MBCN has created a movement that will not die out anytime soon. But will, instead, light the way for others, and will create a society that thrives on equality, love and acceptance for all.

Vaakya – Innovation for the special ones!

Vaakya – Innovation for the special ones!

Ordering food- just tap and it’s delivered in an hour…
Want to go shopping? Open the app and buy anything and everything.
Technology has made our lives so easy that everything is just a click away.
Our country is developing with technology and so are our people. From battlefield grenades to a mop used for home chores; every little innovation is a vouchsafe of technology.

On 11th May, 1998 India executed the successful Shakti, the Pokhran nuclear test and the first indigenous aircraft “Hansa-3” was test flown to Bangalore on this day. Not only this, we also performed successful test firing of the Trishul missile on the same day.

To honour our technological advancements, we celebrate National Technology Day on the 11th of May since 1999. Every year, this day, the Technology Development Board of India awards individuals with national awards for their contribution to indigenous technology.

While technology helps people share their views with everyone, there also exist millions of people who can’t voice their opinions because of speech impairment. To help such individuals, we have designed Vaakya, an augmentative and alternative communication mobile application for a smartphone.

Vaakya is a picture-based app which provides the users the flexibility of customization according to their special needs and the benefit of using Vaakya is that you don’t require an internet connection to operate it.

So this technology day, benefit a life and make it a bit easier for someone by sharing Vaakya with them.

Download the app here- http://bit.ly/2lLag23

Happy Technology Day!