Policy of Inclusion:

A policy of inclusion needs to be implemented in all schools and throughout our education system. The participation of all children needs to be ensured in all spheres of their life in and outside the school. Schools need to become centres that prepare children for life and ensure that all children, especially the differently abled, children from marginalised sections, and children in difficult circumstances get the maximum benefit of this critical area of education. Opportunities to display talents and share these with peers are powerful tools in nurturing motivation and involvement among children. In our schools we tend to select some children over and over again. While this small group benefits from these opportunities, becoming more self - confident and visible in the school, other children experience repeated disappointment and progress through school with a constant longing for recognition and peer approval. Excellence and ability may be singled out for appreciation, but at the same time opportunities need to be given to all children and their specific abilities need to be recognised and appreciated. 

This includes children with disabilities, who may need assistance or more time to complete their assigned tasks. It would be even better if, while planning for such activities, the teacher discusses them with all the children in the class, and ensures that each child is given an opportunity to contribute. When planning, therefore, teachers must pay special attention to ensuring the participation of all. This would become a marker of their effectiveness as teachers. 

Excessive emphasis on competitiveness and individual achievement is beginning to mark many of our schools, especially private schools catering to the urban middle classes. Very often, as soon as children join, houses are allocated to them. Thereafter, almost every activity in the school is counted for marks that go into house points, adding up to an end-of-the-year prize. Such ‘house loyalties’ seem to have the superficial effect of getting all children involved and excited about winning points for their houses, but also distorts educational aims, where excessive competitiveness promotes doing better than someone else as an aim, rather than excelling on one’s own terms and for the satisfaction of doing something well. Often placed under the monitoring eye of other children, this system distorts social relations within schools, adversely affecting peer relations and undermining values such as cooperation and sensitivity to others. Teachers need to reflect on the extent to which they want the spirit of competition to enter into and permeate every aspect of school life— performing more of a function in regulating and disciplining than in nurturing learning and interest. 

Schools also undermine the diverse capabilities and talents of children by categorising them very early, on narrow cognitive criteria. Instead of relating to each child as an individual, early in their lives children are placed on cognitive berths in the classroom: the ‘stars’, the average, the below - average, and the ‘failures’. Most often they never have a chance to get off their berth by themselves. The demonising effect of such labelling is devastating on children. Schools go to absurd lengths to make children internalise these labels, through verbal name calling such as ‘dullard’, segregating them in seating arrangements, and even creating markers that visually divide children into achievers and those who are unable to perform. The fear of not having the right answer keeps many children silent in the classroom, thus denying them an equal opportunity to participate and learn. Equally paralysed by the fear of failure are the socalled achievers, who lose their capacity to try out new things arising from the fear of failure, doing less well in examinations, and of losing their ranks. It is important to allow making errors and mistakes to remain an integral part of the learning process and remove the fear of not achieving ‘full marks’. The school needs to send out a strong signal to the community, parents who pressurise children from an early age to be perfectionists. Instead of spending time in tuitions or at home learning the ‘perfect answers’, parents need to encourage their children to spend their time reading storybooks, playing and doing a reasonable amount of homework and revision. Instead of looking for courses on stress management for their pupils, school heads and school managements need to de-stress their curricula, and advise parents to de-stress children’s life outside the school. 

Schools that emphasise intense competitiveness must not be treated as examples by others, including state-run schools. The ideal of common schooling advocated by the Kothari Commission four decades ago continues to be valid as it reflects the values enshrined in our Constitution. Schools will succeed in inculcating these values only if they create an ethos in which every child feels happy and relaxed. This ideal is even more relevant now because education has become a fundamental right, which implies that millions of first-generation learners are being enrolled in schools . To retain them, the system — including its private sector — must recognise that there are many children that no single norm of capacity, personality or aspiration can serve in the emerging scenario. School administrators and teachers should also realise that when boys and girls from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds and different levels of ability study together, the classroom ethos is enriched and becomes more inspiring.
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Clear CTET - Coaching Institute for CTET, DSSSB and KVS: Policy of Inclusion
Policy of Inclusion
Clear CTET - Coaching Institute for CTET, DSSSB and KVS
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