Prof. Richard Rose

Your child’s needs, my child’s needs or the needs of all our children? Seeking a more collaborative model  for the provision on inclusive and equitable schooling.

Prof.  Richard Rose

Education policy makers in India, in common with those elsewhere, have responded positively to international agreements aimed at securing universal access to education. In acknowledging that for many children, particularly those from disadvantaged situations where the impact of caste, poverty, gender and disability has remained pervasive, the Government of India has established policies aimed at providing education that is both inclusive and equitable. However, progress in this area has been slower than intended with children and families facing major obstacles to obtaining formal schooling.

In this presentation I suggest that whilst the intentions of policies for inclusive education are honourable, understanding of the critical relationship between policy and practice is ill-defined and that this is inhibiting the ability of schools to address the needs of a diverse population. Attempts to challenge factors that cause exclusion have become factionalised, resulting in narrowly focused initiatives aimed at the inclusion of children with disabilities, those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, girls, or others from scheduled tribes or castes competing against each other for provision and resources. I will argue that inclusion policies can succeed in providing better opportunities for all learners. But this will require a model of collaboration between policy makers, professionals, activists and families and recognition of the interplay between factors that currently provoke exclusion and marginalisation, in order to achieve universal education for all.