The Ministry of Education has issued guidelines specifying the need to develop e-content for children with special needs (CwSN). Educationists feel technical aids need to be specified and provided to enable inclusive learning at the school level.
About the guidelines
The ministry wants to attain equity and inclusion by developing special e-content for children with special needs. Further, use of radio, community radio and podcast for grade I to XII will be encouraged. The ministry will also focus on developing sign language videos for learners with hearing disability, which will be made available on the official portal.
You have successfully cast your vote
Rajnish Kumar, director, digital education, DoSEL, Ministry of Education, says, “The guidelines have been widely shared with content creators, content designers, developers, publishers, experts in the field of special education, and e-distributors already engaged or likely to be engaged for developing, uploading and distributing e-content.”
He adds that e-content will facilitate employment and social inclusion for CwSN through educational programmes that include peer support and networking opportunities currently enjoyed by sighted students in mainstream education.
Provide helping aids
The question arises if developing e-content will help students with disabilities such as visual impairment. Abdul Jaleel P, principal, MP International School, Kerala, says, “While providing e-resources for the students is the first step, the government also needs to provide assistive devices to schools at a subsidised rate to equip them adequately. As per the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, there will be no special schools for children with special needs. However, streamlining the education system at mainstream schools to adjust to the needs of these students is difficult.”
Check is needed
Preeti Rajinder Johar, CEO, Family of Disabled, an NGO that works towards education for CwSN, says, “On many occasions, I have come across children with disabilities who were being provided with formal education but it did not reflect in their reading and comprehension abilities. Just providing regular schools with a framework that is supposed to help them is not adequate. The government also needs to conduct regular checks to keep a tab on how well these changes are being followed across schools.”
To this, Usha Chaujer, educator (inclusive and remediation), adds, “We may think that e-content is the answer to all education-related issues faced by CwSN. However, we need to understand that they might not feel the same. Hence, including their likes and dislikes while formulating any new policy by doing ground evaluation is of prime importance.”
Peer learning essential
To whether e-content will restrict the movement of CwSN to schools, Kumar says, “It will not, rather will help us move towards achieving complete inclusive learning with the standards as recommended in the guidelines for better educational and professional development of all.”
The importance of peer to peer learning for children with disabilities must be promoted. “The aim is to bring all the children at the same level. While e-content will help with this to some extent, an alternative process such as Braille and sign language as the third optional language must be introduced. This will help them understand the needs of their peers with disabilities in a much better way,” says Chaujer.