All disabled children between 14 and 18 years of age would soon be entitled to an annual grant of Rs 3,000 for personal needs, apart from schools taking care of their educational requirements.
The HRD Ministry has mooted a Cabinet note for a Rs 1,000-crore inclusive education scheme for children with special needs at the secondary level. This could replace the earlier scheme meant for integrated education for disabled launched in 1974. The Finance Ministry gave its approval to the scheme last week.
With the scheme, the HRD Ministry intends to bring a larger number of disabled children under the inclusive education fold by increasing the disabilities covered from four to eight — blindness, low vision, leprosy, locomotor disability, mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy and mental illness. The scheme — aimed at benefiting six to seven lakh disabled children — will also provide funds to improve the learning environment for the disabled in schools. “There is a component for teachers’ training to understand disabled students, creating special facilities at the secondary level and a barrier-free environment in schools,” a ministry official said. It also provides for free transportation facilities from home to school and arrangements for their medical needs. The cost of their education would remain free.
The objective is to retain children with special needs till the secondary level by making the scheme compatible with programmes for the disabled till the elementary level under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.