The Social Principle of Inclusive Education and Addressing Diversity in Indian Schools: An Appraisal of Post-Salamanca Initiatives in India
There are steps formally initiated by the Government of India to maintain its adherence to the norms of Inclusive Education. Such schemes, acts and policy drafts are brought into discussion in this paper along with an appraisal of their draft and scope. This include the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan which became operational from the year 2001, The Right to Education Act, which is implemented from the year 2009 and the Action Plan for Inclusion in Education of Children and Youth with Disabilities of 2005, which was revised in the year 2009. The discussion is anchored around, though not limited to the aspect of ‘Diversity’ which is very pertinent to the Indian scenario and the philosophy of Inclusion. Cultural and geographical diversity of the Indian sub-continent provoke challenges in ‘Doing Diversity’ in classrooms and at the same time it is contributing for the teacher and the taught. Considering the scope of the concept of social inclusion and inclusive education, the paper argues that at an implementation level, inclusive education should be one that is responsive to diversities in a classroom and cultural space. Rather than reproducing social structures pertaining to the above mentioned social categories of class, gender, language etc., policy drafting and implementation of inclusive education should make certain attempts which are pro-inclusive. They need to be less privileging towards certain ways of learning and certain ways of evaluation, considering the physical and cultural diversities of the learners. In our discussion on these schemes and their scope in ensuring diversity in classrooms, questions pertaining to certain disadvantaged sections are covered including Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Gender non-binaries, migrants etc.
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