“For life to go
on—change is inevitable. Change is never easy
especially when it
involves a large number of individuals and an
Yet change is necessary when innovative
greater effectiveness than past services.”
What is inclusion?
is an educational approach and philosophy that provides all students with
community membership and greater opportunities for academic and social
achievement. Inclusion is about making sure that each and every student
feels welcome and that their unique needs and learning styles are attended to
In India, Ministry of Human Resource
Development in its draft document on Inclusive Education in 2003 has defined
Inclusive Education as ” a system, which aims to provide a favourable setting
for achieving equal opportunities and full participation for all children with
disabilities within general educational system.”
acknowledges that all children can
acknowledges and respects differences
(age, gender, ethnicity, language, disability, HIV status, etc)
enables education structures, systems
and methodologies to meet the needs of all children
is part of a wider strategy to promote
an inclusive society
is a dynamic process which is
need not be restricted by large class
sizes or shortage of material resources.
The Indian ‘Equal Opportunities and Rights of Persons with Disabilities ACT’ 1995,
rule 26, speak about the education of children with disabilities up to the
age of 18 years in an appropriate environment.
As a system, inclusive education should
be flexible. Its principle should be education in the regular classroom
whenever possible. This need for flexibility must be reflected in the methods
and materials used to give these children the widest possible access to the
regular curriculum. When discussing the kind of service needed, the starting
point should always be what is best for the particular child. Emphasizing
inclusive education does not rule out special schools or centres. They would
still be required to cater to children with profound and complex difficulties
in need of more specialized and extensive help.
an inclusive curriculum?
An inclusive curriculum is one to which
all schools subscribe for all pupils, whether they are in mainstream or special
schools. In those countries where the current special school practice is that
each school follows its own curriculum and interprets the subjects they teach
in a unique way, then the quality of the taught curriculum becomes weakened.
This has two consequences. Firstly, the students in special schools are denied
access to the educational culture of their able bodied peers and therefore
denied equality of opportunity to learn. Secondly, the teachers do not have a
critical community in which to develop the quality of the subjects they teach,
because there is no shared cross-school appreciation about the nature of the
content. When this happens there is no shared platform from which to raise
standards of education for students with special education needs. Therefore an
inclusive curriculum must relate to the key learning areas of the central
curriculum and the values of one central culture.
Since each nation has its own culture
and set of values to be transmitted; one curriculum for all students should
reflect these. There may be problems of
interpreting this culture and these values at level that is developmentally
appropriate for students, but this is a challenge for the teacher to meet.
Every student needs to have a sense of time and their history, every student
needs to have a sense of place and their geography, and every student needs to
have access to the arts and literature that is a national treasure. An
inclusive curriculum does this by addressing the knowledge, concepts and values
that are appropriate to all students as laid out in the central curriculum
Enabling students to gain access to new
knowledge at their own individual level of understanding and at their own pace
of learning is central to an inclusive curriculum. This means firstly that
teachers need to understand how to give students access to the same subject
content but with different levels of response from the teacher. Secondly this
approach is much more effectively applied if the students are in control of
their own learning. There are many ways of facilitating student control but it
takes a lot of confidence from the teacher to move away from the more directive
teaching from the front of the class where the teacher moves everyone along at
the same pace. The curriculum must therefore promote differentiation through
student centred learning.
Addressing Special Needs concerns while developing Inclusive Curriculum
good inclusion is in place, the child who needs the inclusion does not stand
out. The inclusive curriculum includes strong parental involvement, students
making choices, and a lot of hands-on and heads-on involvement.’
The unique characteristics, interest
and attitudes of children and diversity in learning styles demand differential
teaching methods to be used by a teacher in the classroom to facilitate
learning. In order to meet the diversity, there is a need to develop an
inclusive curriculum. There is a need of inclusive curriculum keeping in view the
diversity of learners. An inclusive curriculum aims to provide quality
education that will enable all children to learn effectively and participate
equally in class.
It also provides to children the
dignity and confidence to learn. Assessment of functional ability of learners
calls for broad-based curriculum to accommodate diversity of teaching
approaches and use of TLMs (Teaching-Learning Materials) in a given class room.
The guiding principle of school curriculum should be based on the theme of RTE Act 2009 to include and retain all
children in school. The RTE 2009 has mandated entry of diverse learners in the
existing classrooms. For example, learners with & without special needs
have a right to inclusive learning environment. This calls for appropriate
modification in conventional curriculum models.
While planning curriculum, attention
must be given to the needs of any child with disability. Here learning purpose
may be the same for all students, but the learning experiences may vary from
child to child. The following guidelines must be kept in mind while developing
an inclusive curriculum for all children.
curriculum for “ALL” needs to be:
Ø Child centred: Children with
disabilities need child-centred curriculum, which takes into account the
individual needs of children. The curriculum needs to set specific, observable,
measurable and achievable learning outcomes (SOMA).
Ø Flexible: A flexible, locally
relevant curriculum, teaching and learning strategies are intrinsically
important for children with special needs to participate in the educational
Ø Participatory: Children with
special needs require a learning environment in which they can actively
participate in learning in small groups learning settings.
Ø Partnership with parents: Partnership with
parents is a key factor as children learn not only in the classrooms but also
Adaptation: When every child in
the classroom including children with special needs are provided with an
opportunity to learn maximum according to their learning potential, to make required
adaptation in regular curriculum (learning content, learning approach, learning
aids and evaluation), to apply all possible approaches, it is known as
Curriculum adaptation. Curriculum adaptation is not a separate method for
children with disabilities. It is a process of making necessary changes in
learning content such as modification, substitution/ replacement, omission as a
last resort and compensation etc. without changing the learning purpose.
of appropriate approach for learning: Children
with disabilities need to be considered during acclimation of the curriculum.
Few requirements which are desired are-changes in learning substance, environment
need to be favorable for learner and learning, pertinent approach towards
learning, teaching learning support material and aids to be improvised and the
area of evaluation to be reconsidered. These changes in the planning and
execution of the curriculum for all children including the one with
disabilities can bring expanded learning to the young minds.
of children centric approach along with taking care of his psychological
interests and specific needs preferable for learning.
increase the magnitude of learning, equality of access in every feasible manner
is required whether it is physical, attitude based, scholastic and social.
attitude, compatible and flexible teaching strategies to be used to promote
learning in an inclusive surroundings.
of suitable learning content and approach to focus on distinguished techniques
with special needs to be provided with all feasible academic educational
technologies for ensuring equivalent participation and learning.
favorable circumstances to all children for exhibiting gained competence according
to their knowledge capacities.
of part of life skills, which helps in moving towards independent self-sufficient
pre-vocational and occupational proficiencies by Incorporating regionally
available conditions, favorable opportunities, and desirable circumstances.
of work experiences with the educational pedagogy for taking care of the
special needs of all children.
participation of children with special needs in play, games, social and cultural
activities to improve the physical and mental health by developing appropriate
of individual needs of all children to be taken care in school or class wise time-tables.
of opportunities for promoting social communication and interaction.
of new knowledge with the existing ideas with the help of available material or
are the important physical resources for transaction of curriculum. It would be
significant to develop them keeping in mind the inclusive nature of education,
which further may help in understanding various concepts easily by diversified
group of learners in a classroom.
form of textbooks can help in learning for the students who have hearing
disabilities. The effective and interesting teaching learning material can be
developed for considering needs of all children. E-textbooks can be developed
including multimedia and also various suggested links for further study. This
can assist the students to have more interaction with teaching learning
can make the inclusive practices successful or impair it. They can make
adjustments to make improvements in the transaction of curriculum, which is
suitable for ‘ALL’ children. They need to change the perception of blaming
child or the environment for any failure. The classroom environment needs to be
adjusted according to the needs of all diverse groups of learners.
Key features of an inclusive curriculum
reflects the kind of society to which we aspire–It should be solidly grounded
on a wide interpretation of the demands and expectations of society, as well as
the key definitions of the role of education in society. –Inclusive curriculum
development should therefore be seen as a continuous process and closely
intertwined with social inclusion.
Ø It ensures both equity and quality – This allows education
systems to effectively respond to learners’ diversities and consequently better
sustain education for all in the long-term.–The lifelong learning approach to
the organization of curriculum may serve as the integrative aspect that links
the different forms and types of learning.
Ø It is flexible, balanced and relevant to each context and
individual–It addresses and incorporates national, local and learners’
diversities. –It needs to achieve a balance between the global, national and
local expectations, realities and needs.
Ø There is no “one size fits all” model–However, the same
curriculum can be taught to differently-abled learners–various teaching
strategies (diversification of modes of instruction) and learning materials
(Braille, mother-tongue instruction etc) must be used within a common and
shared national education policy and curricular vision.
Ø A competency-based approach may be understood as a
progressive opportunity to achieve an inclusive curriculum–It provides an
innovative way of conceiving and organizing the curricular structure and
objectives as well as the disciplinary content, in order to develop autonomous,
critical and assertive citizens.
to fostering an inclusive curriculum
Ø Move away from rigid disciplinary and decontextualised
content and towards multiplicity of contextualized, inter-disciplinary and
significant resources for the student. •Traditional forms and contents of
knowledge organization and modes of instruction, as well as disciplinary
identities and boundaries, must be revised in line with the goals and with
universal cross-cutting issues.
Ø There is no universal model for fostering and implementing an
inclusive curriculum It implies the construction of a curricular vision to
synthesize and integrate this diversity of views and interests.
Ø The lack of clear objectives and definitions gives rise to
dilemmas in measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of inclusion in schools.
•Successful progress depends greatly on how countries
understand and define quality and success in education, as well as how they
implement their vision through the curriculum.The sharing of experiences and
best practices can strengthen the understanding of IE and, therefore, benefit
inclusive curricular development(evidence-based approach).
Ø An inclusive curriculum is only as good as its application in
the classroom, and thus the teachers are key partners in curricular development
and implementation and must be involved in all aspects and at all levels.
•Teacher education curricula (pre-service and in-service),
and more generally teachers’ professional development, must be reviewed to
prepare teachers for an inclusive education system.
and materials, strong networks, as well as community and institutional support
are all essential in supporting teachers.