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Disability and India’s New Education Policy (NEP) 2020

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Samyak Lalit
Samyak Lalit | December 31, 2020 (Last update: July 14, 2022)

Samyak Lalit is an author and disability rights activist. He is a polio survivor and the founder of projects like Kavita Kosh, Gadya Kosh, TechWelkin, WeCapable, Dashamlav and Viklangta Dot Com. Website: www.lalitkumar.in

“Barrier-free access to education for all children with disability is the LATEST PROVISION made in the NEW EDUCATION POLICY (NEP) 2020, approved by the union cabinet of India, in July this year. This provision is done by the Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawarchand Gehlot. Education Policy in India was first formed in 1986 and was last modified in the year 1992.

Minister Gehlot tweeted some of the major points of the (NEP) on which new reforms will be based. These modifications are made considering children with disabilities and those from socio-economic disadvantaged backgrounds. The major focus in executing this new rule will be primarily on two points.

  1. Imparting knowledge and know how to teaching faculties on how to teach children with specific disabilities.
  2. To provide barrier-free education to children with disability as per the RPWD Act 2016.

In order to facilitate this new addition made in the NEP, assistive devices, appropriate technology-based tools and language-appropriate teaching-learning materials will be made available. Also, high-quality modules to teach Indian Sign Language, and to teach other basic subjects using Indian Sign Language will be developed for NIOS.

Considering that the children with benchmark disabilities shall have the choice of regular or special schooling as per the RPWD Act 2016, resource centers along with special teachers and trainers will be made available to cater the various rehabilitation and educational needs of students with severe or multiple disabilities.

Under the NEP 2020, school and school premises would be helped by providing resources to include children with disability and to appoint special teachers who are trained to teach such students.

Funds will be given to states, to make necessary addition and changes for female and transgender students (such as, making of toilets, cleanliness, bicycles and subjected cash transfers).

Arman Ali, executive director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) said that they are happy with the provisions made in NEP 2020. He said NCPEDP has been urging to include students with disability in regular schooling since 2018. Further he said that it’s good to see that the new provisions are made in NEP include most of the points mentioned by them and most importantly it is structured in consideration with the RPWD ACT. Though much work is left to be done, especially in courses of higher studies. Further he said that it’s really a great welcoming move to see efforts are being made to make education accessible to all equally and let’s just hope it is well executed.

Shameer Rishad, convener of disability rights NGO Javed Abidi Foundation said that the disability sector will keep an eye on the execution and implementation of the new provision. Rishad said long since time and often various policies are being made, but only the policies that are implemented well benefits the society.

The NEP 2020 seems promising and have taken into consideration various main points of the RPWD ACT 2016.

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