Staff Reporter

‘Right to Education Bill excluding millions of children with disabilities’

NEW DELHI: The Disabled Rights Group has planned an indefinite dharna and a rally at Jantar Mantar here on Monday in protest against “non-inclusion” of disability in the Right to Education Bill.

The Group said while on the one hand the Bill promises to make primary education a right for children between 6-14 years, on the other, it is “excluding more than 20 million children with disabilities”. According to Disabled Rights Group convenor Javed Abidi, there are some “glaring problems” with the Bill.

“Where it defines ‘disadvantaged children’, it talks about children belonging to the SC, ST and other groups, but has no word about children with disabilities. Where it defines ‘school’, it does not mention special schools or other infrastructure required for teaching students with disabilities,” he pointed out.

“Where it defines ‘disability’, it takes the meaning as it is given in the Disability Act, 1995. This Act covers people with physical disabilities. For this very reason, the National Trust Act was enacted in 1999, which covers autism, cerebral palsy and multiple disabilities. These children have been excluded from the purview of the Bill.”

Mr. Abidi along with other activists met Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal this past week but said they did not receive a “favourable” response.