Amity Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences, with the support of Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), organized a day long National Conference on “Right to Education Act 2009- Possibilities and Challenges for the Inclusion of Children With Special Needs (CWSN)” at Amity Campus, Sector- 125, Noida.
Prof. (Mrs.) Sudesh Mukhopadhyay- Chairperson, Rehabilitation Council of India, New Delhi along with Dr. Ashok K Chauhan- Founder President, Amity Group and Dr. (Mrs.) Amita Chauhan- Chairperson, Amity International Schools inaugurated the Conference.
Welcoming the august gathering, Dr. J P Singh- Chairman, Amity Foundation for Developmental Studies said that Right to Education Act 2009 aims at universalization of elementary education thereby, bringing every child into the classroom. The quota of 25% reserved seats for EWS category, as mandated by RTE Act, includes CWSN but after so many efforts, majority of CWSN are still deprived of education. He expressed hope that the Conference will serve as a platform for more effective implementation of Right to Education Act through inclusion of CWSN in regular schools.
Addressing the august gathering, Prof. (Mrs.) Sudesh Mukhopadhyay- Chairperson, Rehabilitation Council of India, New Delhi raised several pertinent issues which, if addressed, could help solve the problems of differently -abled children in more concrete manner. The main challenge is to overcome the barrier of insensitivity and unawareness in the society towards children with special needs. She remarked that RTE Act came into existence after 60 years of discussions and deliberations, but still, we have to ensure that these students get their due in terms of facilities and equal opportunities in every walk of life. She stressed that disability is not a problem but a condition. She highlighted the problems faced by people who are now fully cured of Leprosy in terms of discrimination in schools, institutions of higher education and even while marrying their children. She stressed that RTE should aim for changing the attitude of the people and the way “disability” is defined in the society. RTE needs to be enacted in letter and spirit. She averred that Education exists in Concurrent List , therefore, State also has lot of options if they want to implement RTE efficiently. She citied the example of Maharashtra Government which issued a diktat to schools falling under all boards to adhere to a 'basic minimum requirement' of the Right to Education (RTE) Act before March 31 and non- compliance will evoke punitive action.
She suggested that Social Welfare Department and MHRD, both have to come together and find ways to ensure that Children with Special Needs are treated as children first and differently- abled much later.
Dr. Ashok K Chauhan- Founder President, Amity Group re-iterated Amity’s deep commitment to “Inclusive education ” and stressed that without including CWSN in mainstream education, it is not possible to transform the country into a developed nation. He appraised the gathering that knowing the significance of Disability Rehabilitation as an important area, Amity established an independent “Foundation for developmental Disabilities” as well as “Amity Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences” in 2013 to develop skilled and qualified professionals who will serve the society in disability rehabilitation and education.
Sharing her views, Dr. (Mrs.) Amita Chauhan- Chairperson, Amity International Schools said that The Right to Education (RTE) Act is a very important move towards shaping India’s future. Differently -abled children are very talented, provided they have access to equitable opportunities. Citing her own experience in Amity schools, Dr. (Mrs.) Chauhan narrated the difficulty faced by her in finding a Special educator for her school way back in 1994 and how difficult was it to explain their parents that their children need a different way of learning. She remarked that it is very important to understand that these children have a different way of learning, therefore, schools should have patient and caring Counselors and Special educators who could help these students to bloom.
The inauguration was followed by Paper Presentations on topical issues including “Comprehensive strategies to make the Right to Education real for Children with Special Needs in India”, “A Study on Current Practices for Promoting Inclusive Education for Children With Special Needs in Schools of Delhi Administration”, “Technology as an Enabler for Including the Excluded ones”, “Imparting Need Based Education to Children With Special Needs Through Inclusion- Integration –Remediation Model”, “Role of Right to Education Act 2009 in Coping with the Challenges of Child Care and Children with Special Needs”, “Attitude of Teachers’ towards Inclusive Education in Mainstream Schools in India” and others by experts including Ms. Deepti Dagar- Special Educator, Government of NCT, Delhi; Ms. Sheela RK- Special Educator, Sri Ram School, Delhi, Ms. Megha Tiwari- Special educator, Government of NCT, Delhi, Mr. Mahesh Choudhary- Special educator, NIMH, Secunderabad and others.