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CBSE gears up to make schools inclusive for children across disability types

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is gearing up to making laws stricter for inclusive school campuses and classrooms. Reportedly, they have instructed all schools to enhance facilities in their syllabus affiliated schools. This includes introduction of wheelchair ramps, railings and even accessible toilets.

Over the years, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has been working on newer policies and guidelines to make their education system, classrooms and campuses inclusive for children with disabilities. According to reports, the central education board is now gearing up to enhance facilities for children with disabilities in all their syllabus affiliated schools. They have assured to revamp the physical spaces, a move that will come under one of their inclusive education policies.

Reportedly, all the campuses will be made barrier-free. This includes introduction of wheelchair ramps, handrails and accessible toilets. All the study material will also be made accessible for children with all kinds of disabilities. For instance, books will not be placed in high shelves so that a child who is a wheelchair user and has limited accessibility can easily get the books. Parents and disability rights groups from across India cheer for this latest move by CBSE. But they also hope that this is implemented soon without further hassles.

Manju Balasubramanian, Principal, Delhi Public School Bengaluru North hopes that all schools will adhere to the latest rules without fail.

The CBSE, in their bylaws have already mentioned that all their schools have to be inclusive in terms of accessibility and infrastructure. Or else, they will not get the affiliation or extension for affiliations. So school officials also strictly work on this. New schools incorporate accessible features. If any school fails to do all that, it is merely due to their mindset. - Manju Balasubramanian, Principal, Delhi Public School North Bengaluru

Other facilities that will be introduced includes alternatives for bells marking end of a period for children with hearing disabilities, more spaces for wheelchair users to move around freely and seating arrangements for better access to the teacher. CBSE is also working with schools to make colours and paints of classrooms not too loud so that a child does not get distracted.

"It is sad that we are still talking about structural changes in environment. Inclusion, in its true sense, calls only for manpower who have genuine intent to include", points out Seema Lal, Co-founder, TogetherWeCan, a parent support group from Kerala. "They need to be trained to know how to include and understand neuro-diversity. Also, nowadays starting with pre-school, classrooms are decorated so much that nobody knows what to focus on. Classrooms need not always be within four walls".

Hopefully, these larger attitudinal changes will also come about as guidelines become stricter.

Also Read: CBSE to introduce new set of guidelines & policies for children with learning disabilities

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