Among educationists today, “inclusive” education is one of the imperative topics of discussion. Around the world, researchers are finding ways to integrate children of different intellectual abilities in so-called “mainstream education system” to create a unified diverse ecosystem.
However, it’s a far fetched thought. If a child has an intellectual disability, do you think the child can learn in the same school with other kids? Have we created a school / a space to learn like that?
No ! Usually, kids with intellectual disability are sent to “special schools”. It’s interesting, isn’t it? You don’t give every child the same space to learn; you allocate a different setting for few children and call it “special”. How ironic is that?
Isn’t it terrible? If a space is already creating a divide among children, if a space is teaching us not to live with people who’re “not your kind”, if a place is unable to make provisions for everyone to be part, then it’s doing tremendous harm to children.
When schools are already creating a divide, then how do we expect harmony to prosper on its own. In fact, I worked in one of the govt. schools in Delhi, where sections of 10th grade were divided according to children’s marks — so called “bright children” in section A, and “dumb children” in section C.
Is it not time that we rethink what we teach our children through schools? Think about what’s the hidden curriculum (curriculum which schools don’t intend, but are indirectly teaching)?
PS: For all those, who’re practically unable to think that there can be a place where every child (irrespective of disability, socio-economic background etc.) can learn together, then I would request you to visit Puvidham Learning Centre in Tamil Nadu.
I visited in 2017. There was a child who had an intellectual disability. Intriguingly, elders knew about the child, but nobody labelled the child as “disabled”. Teachers taught everyone together; in fact, it was children who helped the child learn by repeating it to him n number of times. Also, every child need not learn everything, and again not at the same speed.
Children don’t understand marks, race, topper, failure, dumb, etc. unless we put these labels in their minds.
The idea is not to compete but collaborate, not to run fast but run together, not to win alone but to achieve together !