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Need to promote Inclusive Classrooms
Suggesting inputs that policy makers and practitioners need to consider to promote inclusive classrooms, identifying key issues and challenges, ensuring meaningful school participation and enhancing the learning achievements of children from diverse backgrounds are some of the key objectives of the “National Report on Inclusive Classrooms, Social Inclusion / Exclusion and Diversity : Perspectives, Policies and Practices” which was released here earlier this week.
The report which is a product of the collaboration between the Deshkal Society and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was released at a two-day national consultation, a part of the Deshkal Society’s project on “Classroom Curriculum, Social Inclusion / Exclusion and Diversity : Voices from the Margins.”
Based on regional consultations with various stakeholders in elementary education in Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Assam, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, the report has identified key areas to be focused on by policy makers and practitioners.
To achieve the goal of inclusive classrooms, the report recommends school-community mapping, developing learner-friendly inclusive teaching-learning practices and processes and also a system of regular data collection, evaluation and feedback on the impact of teaching-learning processes on children’s learning.
It further suggests teacher education on diversity and inclusive classrooms and developing organic school-community relationships.
The need for a “national forum on inclusive classrooms” which will be a strategic initiative to develop and promote the agenda of inclusive classrooms and diversity in a more consistent manner at various levels of the State has also been pointed out.
In this light, the consultation highlighted the manner in which to facilitate teaching-learning practices in an unequal classroom with children from diverse backgrounds, promoting healthy relationships among children and of teachers with children, empowering teachers and children through dialogue and nurturing the abilities of students and teachers to respond to “other” children’s needs with respect for diversity.
Innovative teaching practices were also discussed in addition to an overview of the policy documents relating to the Right to Education, National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education and the National Curriculum Framework from social diversity perspectives.