HT interviews Basanti Roy, educationist and former divisional secretary of SSC Board.
What, according to you, is inclusive education?
Inclusive education is a holistic term. When an underprivileged student, deprived of education gets an opportunity to attend class with a student from an affluent family one, can reach towards inclusive education. Inclusive education can lead to the growth and development of a child.
The Right to Education Act carves out a 25 % reservation for the underprivileged in schools. What do you think are the implications?
There are two sides to this. At one end, poor children who were deprived of education will get quality education. For a country such as India, where literacy levels are low, the reservation is a good move. However, schools will need to pay extra attention to these students.
It will be interesting to see how children will mingle in class. Classroom dynamics will change culturally, socially and economically.
What will the challenges be for students and parents?
The 75 % students who come from regular backgrounds should be sensitised towards disparities with the underprivileged. The atmosphere in which a student from an affluent family is brought up is in contrast to that of a student from an underprivileged background. Parents will also have to be counselled about changes in the education system.
How should schools cope with an inclusive education programme?
It will be a challenge for schools to maintain the quality of education despite the rule. Teachers should be trained to cope with the students from underprivileged backgrounds and they will have to be patient with them.
Teachers will have to put in extra work hours to ensure all students understand concepts. The government should hold workshops to sensitise teachers.