Mumbai school charged with rejecting child with ADHD, puts the focus on just how inclusive schools are
Just how inclusive are schools in India when it comes to children with special needs?
The spotlight is firmly back on this important issue after the parents of a child with ADHD moved the Bombay High Court against a top school in Mumbai for suspending their son who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The school in question is the prestigious The Cathedral & John Connon School, which suspended the child in June this year for misbehaviour.
ADHD is a brain disorder characterised by periods of inattention and impulsive behaviour. People with ADHD may have trouble focusing for long periods of time and may wander off in the midst of doing a task.
The Right to Education Act (RTE) and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (RPWD) is categorical about the responsibilities of educational institutions to promote inclusive education.
The Act requires schools and colleges to provide them without bias and provide all the support they need to enable full participation and development.
The reality, say experts, is rather different.
The fact is that even in the best of schools in our big cities, children with special needs are pushed out. Schools do not want to reach out to them and once the school realizes that the child has a learning disability or ADHD or autism, they pressurize the parents into withdrawing the child. Most parents are too scared or reluctant to challenge the schools. - Dr Harish Shetty, Psychiatrist
A recent all Maharashtra study has also highlighted how little schools, government or private, do when it comes to inclusive education. As reported on Newz Hook, the study across 184 schools in the state found that the children with special needs were ignored. The teachers do not even meet the basic requirements under the RTE Act.
In this particular instance, Dr Shetty says he has approached the Maharashtra education department to step in and provide relief to the child. Whether the parents choose to pursue the legal course is not certain. What is for sure is that this child, like so many kids with special needs, is a casualty of the apathy displayed by so many of our schools.
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