CBSE recognises needs of special students

Lakshmi B. Ghosh

NEW DELHI: Finally recognising the needs of disabled students, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued a circular directing schools to make their buildings not just barrier-free but also provide all necessary disabled-friendly education facilities to make integrated education a reality.

From providing access to every part of the school used by disabled students to the need for better sensitisation of teachers, the CBSE guidelines have for the first time brought into focus the much important issue of integrated education.

Issued recently by the CBSE Director of Academics, G. Balasubramanian, the circular gives schools guidelines to follow in the wake of a "conscious shift being made from mainstream schooling of education for children with disabilities'' internationally and efforts from the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development to make all schools across the country disabled-friendly.

On top of the Board's guidelines instructions is the directive to ensure barrier-free access to all educational facilities and services in the school including hostels, libraries, laboratories and buildings.

Since most schools usually lack the required study material for special students, the CBSE has further asked them to give "special attention'' to the availability of appropriate study material for the disabled, including talking textbooks, reading machines and computers with speech software that can be easily made available for the use of disabled students.

With the availability of Braille books almost being a rarity in most schools, the CBSE has urged schools to ensure the availability of Braille books in their libraries. But that is not all. The guidelines also ask students to provide other support services like sign language interpreters, transcription services and loop induction system to help students with a hearing impairment.

Transportation being one of the key problems faced by students with disability, the guidelines have also urged schools to ensure "adequate and appropriate'' transport facilities to help students with special needs.

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