Md. Sazedul Islam :
Every child has the right to learn together; all children are equal and should have the opportunity to celebrate and value their own and others endeavor; and all children should have equal access to resources. Inclusive education is needed to ensure the rights of the disabled children. Inclusion of disabled children in mainstream education is one of the only ways to provide learning for all the children. Children irrespective of physical condition, religion, gender, economic condition, race or colour can take part in inclusive school.
Inclusive education is based on the right of all learners to a quality education that meets basic learning needs and enriches lives. The ultimate goal of inclusive quality education is to end all forms of discrimination and foster social cohesion. It is specifically stated in Article 23 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child that disabled children have a right to enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions that promote independence and community inclusion. It must be recognized that children learn and develop in different ways and at different rates. As such, it is important to create a learning environment that responds to the needs of each child.
Inclusive education is the best approach for better learning and integration of socialization with minimum expenditure. Teachers and classrooms must adapt in order to accommodate children with special needs.
The principle of inclusive education was adopted at the World Conference on Special Needs Education: Access and Quality (Salamanca, Spain, 1994) and was restated at the World Education Forum (Dakar, Senegal, 2000). The idea of inclusion is further supported by the UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities proclaiming participation and equality for all.
Educationists said we have to recognize that each child's contribution is essential for the enrichment of the community even the child is disabled; and our aim to help each child develop a sense of self-respect, self-confidence, self discipline and an awareness of, and a sensitivity to the needs and beliefs of others.
In inclusive system of education, a handicapped child will participate in class room along with normal children for their studies. Inclusive education is when all children of our society will get chance to continue their study at educational institutions or any other institution together. In inclusive education, all the obstacles which hamper the learning of children in and outside the school are identified and steps taken for its solution. Focusing particularly on vulnerable and marginalized groups, inclusive education seeks to develop the full potential of every individual.
In many cases, disabled children are barred from admitting into schools due to opposition by teachers and students though there is no law restricting their admission into inclusive school. Traditionally, disability has been seen as a medical concern. However, there is a growing realization that the greatest problems facing children with disabilities are prejudice, social isolation and discrimination in society.
Persons with disabilities often face barriers to participation in society. Evidence and experience show that when barriers to their inclusion are removed and persons with disabilities are empowered to participate fully in societal life, their entire community benefits.
Disabled children encounter negative treatment where the peer students are not sensitized on disability issues, teachers have no training, etc. One further social problem faced by both children and adults with disabilities, especially amongst the females are various types of abuse. Women with disabilities appear to be at high risk for emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Fear of such abuse often prevents parents of children with disabilities, especially girls, from sending them to schools.
This attitude and exclusion result in denial of disabled children to attend schools. Without any education and social inclusion, they are deemed to poverty and exclusion.
All children have a right to education. Children with disability are no exception. No matter how serious or severe their disability may be, children should be able to tap into their fullest potential. Benefits of inclusive education for children with special needs: it affords a sense of belonging to the diverse human family, provides a diverse stimulating environment in which to grow and learn, evolves in feelings of being a member of a diverse community, enhances self-respect and provides opportunities to be educated with same-age peers. As a ratifying country of the Child Rights Convention (1989), the government of Bangladesh is responsible to provide educational opportunities equally for all. The National Constitution suggests that Bangladesh need to initiate a need-based compulsory and free education with necessary legal basement. The Education policy of Bangladesh (1997) suggests provisions for Integrated Education along with Special Education provisions depending on the need of children with disabilities. It also recognized the necessity of including disability issues in teachers' training curriculum so that the regular teachers could manage children with disabilities in regular settings.
The Bangladesh Disability Welfare Act 2001 also provides legislative support to ensure education of children with disabilities.
The Asia Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (1993-2002), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), the National Constitution of Bangladesh, the Education policy of Bangladesh (1997) and Salamanca Declaration of 1994 emphasized on ensuring education for all children on the principle of equal opportunity, the purpose of which is to develop the full potential, tolerance and gender equity of children. Bangladesh is signatories to the Salamanca and Dakar framework of action.
Education is vital to empower disabled people. Only education can give disabled the end means to alleviate themselves from poverty and bring them into the mainstream of the society. The empowerment of disabled and their equal participation in society is absolutely necessary for attaining real development.
We must have the attitude and willingness to acknowledge the capacities of a person with disability and recognize him/her as a useful member of the society.
The general teachers should have the knowledge of curricular adaptation techniques while teaching and they should know the techniques of involving a visually impaired child in co-curricular activities.
Education for all and country's overall development mean that education systems must be inclusive, responding in flexible ways to accommodate the needs of all learners in order to attract and retain children from marginalized and excluded groups. Inclusive education is a developmental approach seeking to address the learning needs of all the children with a specific focus on those who are vulnerable to marginalisation and exclusion.