Building Futures: Inclusive Education Strategies Focused on Skills and Higher Education for IDD Students

Introduction:

To further enhance the educational landscape for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in India, the government could consider implementing several strategic initiatives. These initiatives should focus on inclusive education, skill development, and higher education, ensuring comprehensive support for students with IDD.

1. Inclusive Education in Schools:

  • Objective: Develop and upgrade all schools, including 14,500 PM SHRI schools (PM Schools for Rising India) nationwide, to act as model schools, showcasing the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and promoting an inclusive, equitable, and holistic education environment for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
  • Implementation:
    1. Equip classrooms with assistive technology tailored for students with IDD.
    2. Integrate easy-to-read assistance and simplify curriculum materials to cater to various cognitive abilities.
    3. Train special educators to implement and monitor Individualised Education Plans (IEPs).

2. Include IDD in PM Daksh-DEPwD Portal:

  • Objective: Expand the PM Daksh-DEPwD Portal to include training programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
  • Implementation:
    • Incorporate IDD-friendly courses into the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) and rethink the use of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to ensure direct entry into skill levels 1 and 2.
    • Promote vocational training centres run by Special Schools and NGOs, focusing on contemporary market needs.
    • Course Examples:
      • Digital literacy
      • Basic multimedia
      • Data entry
      • Arts and crafts
      • Culinary skills
      • Horticulture
        etc.
We are going to college

3. Think College! Inclusive Higher Education Initiatives:

  • Objective: Provide inclusive higher education opportunities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) through partnerships of the National Institutes (PwDs) and NGOs with universities and colleges. (Example- Manovikas Initiative of Think College! Inclusive Higher Education for IDD)
  • Implementation:
    • The University Grant Commission (UGC) directs universities to offer certificate, diploma, and degree programs tailored to IDD students.
    • UGC and National Institutes (PwDs) will ensure every university and college has facilities and support systems for students with IDD.
      • Dedicated support centres/Equal Opportunity Cell with IDD Orientation 
      • Accessible campus infrastructure
      • Specialised academic advisors
    • Develop market-oriented and skill-based courses such as:
      • Digital media
      • Hospitality
      • Entrepreneurship etc. 

Conclusion:

By implementing these strategic initiatives, the government can significantly enhance the educational landscape for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in India, ensuring they have access to inclusive education, skill development, and higher education opportunities. This will not only empower individuals with IDD but also foster an inclusive society that values and supports all its members.

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