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What is Social Inclusion

  • Inclusive education differs from the mainstream model of education. Inclusion is about the child’s right to participate and the school’s duty to accept the child. Feeling included is not limited to physical and cognitive disabilities, but also includes the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and of other forms of human differences.
  • In simple words, inclusive education means, an equitable and inclusive education system, providing quality education to all, irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds. Such inclusion within education system is indispensable to establish a progressive, democratic society in substantive terms.
  • Inclusive education values diversity and the unique contribution each student brings to the classroom in a truly inclusive setting; every child feels safe and has a sense of belonging. Students and parents participate in setting learning goals and take part in decisions that affect them.

Why Social Inclusion

  • Equitable and inclusive education system providing quality education to all irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds is indispensable to establish a progressive, democratic society in substantive terms. It becomes all the more important for a country like India where though political democracy exists, but socio-economic democracy is yet to be achieved.
  • If it gets implemented well, this clause has the potential to transform school education in India by firstly,
    Reducing socioeconomic stratification in our education system.
    Empowering disadvantaged and economically weaker section (EWS) children with more schooling choices would affect the overall learning outcome in a positive way.
    ― It will also provide opportunities to all children regardless of their socioeconomic status as well as improve the overall quality of education.
    ― Additionally, students from good background will more likely behave in generous and egalitarian ways. They will be more willing to interact with poor students and discriminate less against other poor students outside the confines of their school.
    ― Increased interactions across social groups, perhaps especially in childhood, can improve inter-group behavior. It will also encourage entry and expansion of high-quality private schools based on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model catering to the EWS/DG students.
    ― Lastly, it will compel government schools to improve their quality on account of the competition to retain their captive demography of EWS/DG children who can’t afford to pay private school fees.
  • In short, the action would contribute to improving equity and social integration, as well as contribute to an improvement in quality in terms of performance in both public and private schools.

RightWalk’s Intervention

  • The success of RTE section 12.1.C largely depended upon the inclusive practices and pedagogical techniques by schools for seamless integration of children from economically weaker sections in their classes.
  • Schools in Uttar Pradesh weren’t well equipped for socially inclusive classrooms.
  • Understanding the need to train teachers in various techniques, so that they can better manage a socially inclusive classroom, and in order to establish an equitable and inclusive education system that provides quality education to all, irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds, RightWalk Foundation conducted 9 workshops in different districts of U.P. in collaboration with UNICEF and U.P. Government.
  • The purpose of the Social Inclusion workshops was progressive inculcation of inclusive practices in schools to facilitate socio-economic integration within classrooms to ensure better learning experience for all thereby, ensuring effective implementation of section 12.1.C of the RTE Act.
  • These workshops were conducted in Lucknow, Agra, Varanasi, Faizabad, Kanpur, Gorakhpur, Firozabad, Moradabad, and Lakhimpur Kheri.
  • The participants constituted the key stakeholders- various Govt. officials,RWF’s members and participant schools’ representatives i.e. Principals, Managers, Directors and teachers. All the participants interacted with each other, discussing and deliberating upon the challenges, doubts & questions put forth by the different schools which had surfaced during the implementation process. Their interaction provided us with different dimensions of the problems as well as the innovative solutions of those problems.
  • Apart from discussing the challenges and doubts, the schools were trained to deal with parents and children during admission time. They were also provided training in various inclusive pedagogical techniques which were to be followed by teachers while teaching in the class room for effectively integrating the children belonging to EWS and DG categories. Inclusive practices and strategies for school principals and management were also discussed with them. The school representatives were also encouraged for post classroom monitoring and providing support to EWS children and their parents.

Impact

  • RightWalk’s intervention enhanced the capacities of private schools on inclusive pedagogical technique for ensuring seamless integration of children from economically weaker section (EWS)/disadvantaged section (DG) in their schools.
  • Furthermore, due to RightWalk’s efforts, the number of admissions in Private schools increased to a historical figure of 50000+ within a span of 3 years; and since the system we’ve built is large scale & efficient, we believe that our work can impact 5 million poor children in the next 8 years, thus making schools open to social inclusion.