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What is Social Inclusion

  • Inclusive education means students coming from different socio-economic backgrounds to be learning side-by-side in the same classroom. They enjoy field trips and school activities together, while being able to access same resources such as libraries, toys etc., like everybody else.
  • 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.
  • In addition to that, school staff has the training support, flexibility and resources to nurture, encourage and respond to the needs of all students.

Why Social Inclusion

  • India’s elementary education system is going through a very challenging time at present when overall learning outcomes are almighty low, especially in public schools. The poor performance of public schools has led to the growth of private schools, thus leading to adverse stratification in schooling by ability to pay, which in turn perpetuates inequality over generations resulting in an unstable society.
  • Since education is a great equalizer. Any scheme that provides equal access to quality education irrespective of socio economic differences can help reduce societal inequity and hence should be priority.
  • When privileged children and children from socially disadvantaged and economically weaker groups attend classes together, that reflect the similarities and differences of people in the real world, they learn to appreciate diversity.
  • When all children, regardless of their socio-economic differences are educated together, everyone benefits. Equity in education means social and economic condition are not obstacles to achieving educational potential; access to quality education and that all children reach at least a basic minimum level of skills (inclusion).
  • As per Prof. Gautam Rao’s research at Harvard University, social inclusion in education not only benefits the poor children but also the rich one. They become more pro-social and generous. Rich students are more likely to behave in generous and egalitarian ways. They are more likely to share money with poor ones. They are more willing to interact with poor students and discriminate less against other poor students outside the confines of their school.
  • Educated people contribute to more democratic societies and sustainable economies. Therefore investing in elementary education of all and in particular for children from disadvantaged backgrounds is not only social justice but also economically efficient.

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 might not be 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, 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.
  • These workshops were conducted in Lucknow, Agra, Varanasi, Faizabad, Kanpur, Gorakhpur, Firozabad, Moradabad and Lakhimpur Kheri.

Impact

  • Social Inclusion Workshops 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.