BHUBANESWAR: With the commencement of admission of children to primary and upper primary schools for 2019-20 academic session, the State Government has asked officials of School and Mass Education to ensure that no school denies admission to kids with special needs.
The Government order came after the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), which received complaints regarding denial of admission to such children in certain schools at different parts of the country, directed the chief secretaries of all states and Union territories to take necessary measures in this regard.
“All children with special needs in the age group of 6 to 14 years must be enrolled in their nearby schools. Similarly, children identified during the household survey should be admitted to elementary schools in their localities,” the directive stated.
State Project Director of Odisha School Education Programme Authority Bhupendra Singh Poonia, who issued the directive asking the District Education Officers (DEOs), Block Education Officers (BEOs) and District Project Coordinators (DPCs) of Samagra Sikshya to ensure all schools follow the instruction strictly, said schools should work towards creating an inclusive learning environment for all children. The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009 mandates free and compulsory elementary education for all, including the differently-abled children.
Accordingly, a slew of measures have been taken to include children with special needs in the mainstream of formal schooling. However, poor execution of these measures has deprived many differently-abled children of free education.
The Government has also asked schools to ensure that the differently-abled children have access to need-based assistive devices, therapeutical services, surgical correction, braille books, large print books, escort and transport allowance.
Officials of Odisha School Education Programme Authority said at the end of the admission session, the Government will collect reports from DEOs and BEOs regarding the number of differently-abled children enrolled in all schools and KGVBs for 2019-20 academic year.