The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 (RPWD) defines inclusive education as “a system of education in which students with and without disabilities learn together and the teaching and learning system is adapted to meet the learning needs of different types of students with disabilities”. ‘. In an equitable and inclusive classroom, every student has equal access to learning, is treated fairly by the learning community, and feels valued and supported by their instructor and peers. These learning environments emphasize the importance of cultural awareness, value all social identities, and consider the impact of systemic inequalities.

Identifying these important factors shapes classroom experiences and impacts student learning. Equity and inclusion are important elements in designing educational spaces that meet the needs of all students; it doesn’t matter if a student has a visible or invisible disability, an English language learner or a learner at risk. This inclusive system recognizes the right of all students to a learning experience that respects diversity, enables participation, removes barriers, and anticipates and accommodates a variety of learning needs and preferences.

According to UNESCO, inclusive education is seen as “a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all learners by increasing participation in learning, cultures and communities, and reducing exclusion from education and within education”. Countries around the world are striving to develop inclusive education in their unique contexts. At the same time, the collaborative efforts of international agencies such as the World Bank, UNICEF, IIEP, UNECSO, donors and others, in addition to local and international DPOs, are focused on building a common understanding of the need for systemic change at global and international levels. local levels.

Inclusive and equitable education, while indeed an essential goal in itself, is also essential to achieving an inclusive and equitable society in which every citizen has the opportunity to dream, prosper and contribute to the nation. The education system should aim to benefit all children so that no child loses an opportunity to learn and excel due to circumstances of birth or origin. This policy reaffirms that closing the gaps between social categories in terms of access, participation and learning outcomes in school education will continue to be one of the main objectives of all development programs in the sector. ‘education. Equitable and inclusive teaching practices help create educational environments in which all individuals are welcomed, respected, supported and valued to participate fully in the learning process

It is important to use formative assessments where students can track their progress throughout the course, before, during and after learning. Provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their learning in different modes and modalities. This enhances the learning experience for all students and can increase their chances of success. There should be variability in activities to support all students. Design activities that encourage autonomy where students can contribute freely. Help students feel that their views are valued and respected. Authentic activities can increase engagement and help students deepen their understanding. An inclusive classroom also encourages students to become more engaged in authentic experiences that align with their lives and interests.

Classroom observations and reflective coaching conversations are essential elements in building equitable, inclusive and excellent schools. Teachers may leave with the best intentions to support all students, but nothing is predictable at school. Reflecting on our practices helps us understand what works well and what works less well. Inclusive education involves transforming the entire education system – legislation and policy, the systems for financing, administering, designing, delivering and monitoring education, and the way schools are organized . It takes time and money to change the system. Teachers need training and guidance, and students need services to overcome barriers to learning. Action must be taken to combat negative attitudes and prejudices towards children with disabilities.

Inclusive education will benefit from the widest possible experience and knowledge. It will be the end of discrimination, the end of the exclusion of children with disabilities. Inclusive education generates and provides acceptance and understanding of student needs and also identifies students’ differences, diversity and cultural background. It is not enough to place the student with a disability in the common classroom; they need to be truly included and given the opportunity to work alongside their peers. Teachers should also consider telling students that they all have different needs, which means that each student is unique to you.

(Mr Ahmad has been associated with an inclusive institution in Srinagar for 20 years and can be contacted at: [email protected])