Inclusive education was recognized as a right under the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006, particularly with respect to elementary education. This right ensures access of children with disabilities to the same learning environment as children without disability, as well as reasonable accommodation in the common learning environment to meet the learning needs of children with disability. This is recognized in spirit by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016(“RPWD Act”). Similarly, the Right to Education Act, 2009 (“RTE Act”) expressly recognizes the right of children with disabilities to free and compulsory education, in the same manner as children without disability.
In light of the above, Vidhi has intervened in the Supreme Court in a matter related to education for children with disability in Uttar Pradesh and appointment of special educators. Vidhi’s submissions argue that State cannot exclude children with disabilities from mainstream education on the basis of categories of disability and as such, the State should endeavour to deinstitutionalise existing special schools. Vidhi’s submissions before the Court are available here.
Vidhi has also filed a petition in the Delhi High Court praying for a policy that sets out norms and standards for inclusive education and for measures that will ensure that schools comply with these standards. Vidhi’s submissions are based on a harmonious reading of the RTE Act and RPWD Act. The petition submits that even though the current statutory framework ensures that children with disabilities are admitted to mainstream schools, however in the absence of any enforceability of standards the said inclusion is not meaningful. Vidhi’s petition is available here.
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