Prof. Anita Julka

Students voice influencing policy and practice in inclusive education

Prof. Anita Julka

The vision of latest scheme of the Government of India in Education, called the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education from nursery to senior secondary stage in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal for Education (Goal 4). The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 defines inclusive education” to mean a system of education wherein students with and without disability learn together and the system of teaching and learning is suitably adapted to meet the learning needs of different types of students with disabilities. The best way to facilitate the implementation of policy and legislative frameworks is to include students in planning and assessment processes for making learning accessible to them in an inclusive classroom. In fact, the National Curriculum Framework (2005) also stated that teachers could consider involving children and older learners in planning the class work, such variety would bring tremendous richness to the classroom processes. It would also allow teachers to respond to the special needs of some children without making it seem as if it is an obvious exception.

This paper, therefore, is strongly grounded in the notion that engaging with students’ voices in schools is essential for the development of inclusive practices. It explores the voices of 300 students with special needs from all over the country studying in inclusive classrooms at secondary level in relation to their experiences of learning and teaching. This findings of the research study, though showing that students’ voices can be a powerful means for understanding learning and teaching in schools and also the barriers faced by them will also make suggestions for policy implementation and teacher development . By doing this, recommendations as to how to enable teachers to give individualized attention to children, and to make alterations in a task depending on their requirements and variations in the level of interest are offered, with the aim being to allow a genuine engagement with the views of students.