‘Special focus for differently-abled kids in school system’

December 15th, 2008 - 4:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS) Inclusiveness is the cornerstone of India’s school education system and no child, no matter how differently-abled, will be left out, parliament was informed Monday. “Inclusiveness is the cornerstone of our educational system and no child, even those that need special attention and special education, will be left out,” Minister of State for Human Resource Development (HRD) D. Purandeswari said during question hour in the Rajya Sabha.

She was replying to a supplementary from Jaya Bachchan (Samajwadi Party) on the additional measures being taken for differently-abled children since “they are aware that they are not up to the mark and this causes psychological problems”.

“All those who have seen ‘Tare Zameen Par’ will understand the need for such special care,” Bachchan added.

Purandeswari noted that under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), teachers were being sensitised “not to segregate such children”, even as she “pleaded” with the parents of such children to provide adequate support at home.

SSA is an effort to universalise elementary education by community-ownership of the school system. It is a response to the demand for quality basic education all over the country. The SSA programme is also an attempt to provide an opportunity for improving human capabilities to all children, through provision of community-owned quality education in a mission mode.

Replying to the main question on the steps being taken to de-stress school students, particularly those in Classes 10 and 12, Purandeswari pointed out that web-based counselling that had been begun just three months ago had already attracted 1,862 questions from students and 840 from parents, mainly on improving percentages and the options available after school.

“A wide range of issues are being addressed,” she said.

Students were also being allowed a 15-minute grace period before they started writing an examination to enable them settle down and thoroughly understand the question paper, while the compartment system had been introduced at the classes 10 and 12 levels to ensure students who failed didn’t lose a year.

“Class 10 students can clear two papers in a compartment exam in June-July while class 12 students can clear one paper in this way. This will ensure that the students don’t have to lose a year,” Purandeswari said.

“The children are constantly evaluated throughout the year and 20 percent of the final result is set apart for this,” she added.

This apart, the grading system had replaced that of awarding percentages “so the fear of low marks has been dispensed with,” she added.

The National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) was also conducting regional conferences “in a very conducive atmosphere” to discuss educational reforms and the recommendations made were being shared with other boards like the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE), Purandeswari pointed.

“Training sessions for paper setters are also being carried out,” she added.

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