75% of under-five children with disabilities do not attend school

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Published: July 13, 2019 2:52:35 AM

Against the backdrop of the stated inclusion goals of the government for persons with disabilities, the report shows that access to education will pose perhaps the toughest challenge.

The Right to Education has provisions for enrolments of CWDs, but crucially has no clause for providing resources for them. (Representational image)The Right to Education has provisions for enrolments of CWDs, but crucially has no clause for providing resources for them. (Representational image)

A recent report by Unesco and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, State of the Education Report for India: Children with Disabilities, finds 75% of five-year-olds with disabilities do not attend any schools in India—20% of children with hearing and visual impairment have never been in school—and that one in four in the 5-19-year-old cohort are not enrolled in an educational institute. The report is based on Census 2011 and takes into account 78,64,636 children with disabilities (CWDs) in India—1.7% of the total child population. Compared with children with learning disabilities, those with multiple disabilities see a much lower enrolment in schools and their dropout rate is also higher. The report also mentions that there are fewer girls with disabilities enrolled in schools than boys.

Against the backdrop of the stated inclusion goals of the government for persons with disabilities, the report shows that access to education will pose perhaps the toughest challenge. The Right to Education has provisions for enrolments of CWDs, but crucially has no clause for providing resources for them. As of now, most CWDs enrol in National Institute of Open Schooling, but, there has been a decline in enrolments from 2009 to 2015. The report makes several recommendations, one being amending the RTE to make it aligned with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. It also mentions the need for driving an attitudinal change amongst parents and children—without this, any effort to build inclusion will flounder.

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