National Education Policy focuses on Equitable and Inclusive Education: MoS Annpurna Devi

The National Education Policy 2020 envisages an inclusive and structural change in the educational system. It focuses on ‘Equitable and Inclusive Education, which reverberates the idea that no child should be left behind in educational opportunities because of their background and socio-cultural identities. It has considered the concerns of the Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs), including female and transgender individuals, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs, minorities, and other categories. This policy aims at bridging the social category gaps in access, participation, and learning outcomes in school education.

Minister of State for Education Smt Annpurna Devi said, “Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL), Ministry of Education is implementing Samagra Shiksha scheme, effective from 2018-19. Bridging gender and social category gaps at all levels of school education is one of the major objectives of the Scheme. The  Scheme reaches out to girls and children belonging to  SC,  ST,  Minority communities, and transgender. The Scheme also focuses on the identified Special Focus Districts (SFDs) based on adverse performance on various indicators of enrolment, retention, and gender parity, as well as the concentration of SC, ST, and minority communities.”

Under Samagra Shiksha, there is a provision of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs). KGBVs are residential schools from class VI to XII for girls belonging to disadvantaged groups such as SC, ST, OBC, Minority, and Below Poverty Line (BPL). The KGBVs are set up in Educationally Backward Blocks. The objective behind establishing KGBVs is to ensure access and quality education to girls from disadvantaged groups by setting up residential schools and reducing gender gaps at all levels of school education.

There are currently 5627 sanctioned KGBVs across the country in which 6,65,130 girl students from various disadvantaged groups are enrolled.

She further added that the Scheme also covers Children with Special Needs (CwSN) from pre-primary to senior secondary level across the country. There is a dedicated Inclusive Education component for the education of CwSN as an integral part of Samagra Shiksha. In keeping with the principle of inclusion, CWSN is provided support through specific student-oriented interventions, i.e., aids and appliances, teaching aids, assistive devices, identification and assessment camps, teaching and learning materials, an orientation program for the parents, education administrators, community, sports events, world disability day, braille books/kits, corrective surgeries, transportation allowances, escort allowances, uniforms (under RTE), stipend for girls, training of general teachers, financial assistance for special educators, use of ICT, etc.

Under Student Oriented Component, assistance is provided to States/Union Territories @ Rs. 3500/- per Child with Special Needs for both school-going and children who cannot attend school (home-based education) about the severity of the disability.

Girls with disabilities receive particular focus and efforts under the Scheme to help them gain access to schools and provide motivation and guidance for developing their potential. An amount of Rs. 200 per month for ten months ( Rs.2000/- PA), through Direct Benefit Transfer, is given to girls as a stipend to encourage them to come to school. In 2021-22, girls’ allowance was provided to 6.12 lakhs girls with special needs. The total outlay approved was Rs.122.57 Crores.

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