Inclusion in Education is an approach towards meeting the goal of equality of opportunities in education. But due to some social reforms, some children are facing educational disabilities. These group of children belongs to socially disadvantaged group.
Generally, the term ‘disadvantage’ is a generic term for individuals/groups who face special physical or mental disability who lack financial or economic support. The socially disadvantaged group or individual are lower socio-economic group who face cultural and educational deprivations. The socially disadvantaged children means the children who come from socio-economically background section of the community. Moreover, socially disadvantaged children are seen in interior tribal and rural areas of country where educational facilities have not reached in the way we find them in a metropolitan area. So this category of children kept under socio-cultural handicapped. There is a vast difference between these children and the normal one. These children are different in all cognitive, effective and psychomotor abilities as compared to thr normal children. But they are not disadvantages from genetic point of view.
Socially Disadvantaged Section- Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes
Socially disadvantaged group is culturally, educationally deprived or un-priviledged group of people. The children belonging to Schedule Castes (SC), Schedule Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC) and Minorities, have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudices or cultural bias within the society.
Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes are treated as backward classes. In the context of India, the backward classes consists of three main divisions-
a. Schedule Castes (Harijans)
b. Schedule Tribes (Girijans)
c. Other Backward Classes.
Certain groups of people in India in hill and village areas have been suffering from isolation. The factors of those isolation are the geographical as well as social. In our country, the total no of schedule caste population is 16.2% and the no of schedule tribes is 8.27%.
Definitions of Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes
Schedule Castes (SC)
There is a long history of Schedule Caste in India beginning from the Vedic period during which they were termed as ‘Chandalas’. Majority of the Schedule Castes have been regarded as ‘Untouchable’. Under the Govt. Of India Act 1935, the untouchables are designated as ‘Schedule Caste’. The untouchability which was associated with these group of people is a stigma attached to Hindu society. Notable personalities like Gandhiji, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s effort towards removal of untouchability. As a result, Article-17 of the Constitution of India stated untouchability was abolished. In pursuance of this provision, the parliament passes the Untouchability Act (1955). This was later substituted by the protection of Civil Right Act (1978). Mahatma Gandhi defined Schedule Caste as Harijans- the “People of God”.
Schedule Tribes (ST)
The term ‘Tribe’ means ‘simple folk’ living in hills and forests. Article 336(25) of the Constitution says that Schedule Tribes (ST) are the tribes as tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities which the Indian President may specify by public notification under Article-341(1)
Gillin and Gillin defines, ‘a tribe is a group of local communities which lives in a common area, speaks a common dialect and follows a common culture’.
Gandhiji called them ‘Girijans’.
Inclusion of Children from Schedule Castes in Education
Inclusion of children from socially disadvantaged section Schedule Caste in Education is possible by-
a. Establishment of schools with minimum norms of infrastructure, other facilities and teachers in the neighbourhood of Schedule Castes habitation.
b. Establishment of norms of behaviour within the school for all the members specially for the teachers and students.
c. Provision of escort to school for SC students.
d. Encouragement of co-curricular activities like sports, music, drama, which can break the social barriers between socially disadvantaged children (SC) and the non-disadvantaged one.
e. Increasing and encouraging the interaction and participation of all children including the SC’s to exhibit their talents and to get recognition.
f. Avoiding segregation in the classroom on the basis of caste and creed.
g. Opening up schools or centres of education in the SC concentrated neighbourhood.
h. Provision of monitoring the attendance and retention of children specially the SC regularly.
i. Provision of scholarship for the SC students.
j. Provision of special facility like residential schools as transport for the SC students.
k. Sensitisation of teachers to SC culture and traditions.
l. Provisions of free textbooks, uniforms, awards for these children.
m. Encouragement of adequate representation of parents of SC students.
n. Proper allocation of work between children from SC community and non-disadvantaged group of children in the school.
o. Provision of reservation in private unaided schools or aided
schools for the children belonging to some disadvantaged section like
Inclusion of Children from Schedule Tribes in Education
Inclusion of these children in education is possible through-
a. Establishment of school/residential school/ashrams in adequate numbers in the small habitation of remote or hilly areas.
b. Provision of scholarship for the schedule tribes students.
c. Provisions of teaching in the local language by recruitment native speakers in tribal areas.
d. Establishment of resource centres in the regular school for providing academic and other technical support for education in the tribal areas.
e. Provision for training of teachers in multilingual education.
f. Incorporation of local knowledge in the curriculum and textbooks in the tribal concentrated areas.
g. Encouragement of co-curricular activities and participation of the students from ST community equally with other non-disadvantaged child.
h. Provision for special escort to ST community children.
i. Provision for special training for non-tribal teachers to work in tribal area schools, including the tribal culture.
j. Provision for celebration of tribal festivals in the schools.
k. Orientation of the teachers in such tribal areas in order to change the attitudes and bias regarding tribal children in the regular schools.
l. Provision of bilingual/multilingual education programme that start with education in their mother tongue and then transit to the regional/state language and English, specially in remote tribal areas.
m. Incorporation of the teaching learning materials with the life situation of the children in the tribal areas.
n. Expansion of hostel and othr facilities to access the middle and higher level of education for the ST children.
o. Establishment of special norms within the school for the teachers
and the students so that the ST students are not segregated from the
Need for Inclusion of Children belonging to SC and ST in Education
Inclusion of children belonging to SC and ST in education will help-
1. To address disadvantages and diversity in education.
2. To cater the needs of every child irrespective of his/her
3. The teachers to be sensitive to the issues of social disadvantages
and show special care for them.
4. To remove from their minds the stigma attached to ‘disadvantages’.
5. To remove the sense of inferiority that affects the motivation for
6. More likely to finish elementary and high schools and to attend
and finish college (Higher Education).
7. To show low social and psychological strain on account of their
8. To adjust properly in the integrated school.
9. To remove the high sense of avoidance for failure than striving
10. To reduce the drop-out rates among the socially disadvantaged
11. To raise the enrolment in schools in adequate numbers.
12. To remove the social barriers to meaningful participation in the
13. To remove cultural deprivation thereby to increase intellectual
14. To oppose social exclusion in schools.
15. To develop all the aspect of personality through its equity
oriented participation in the general education programme.
16. To extend the areas of social advantages.
17. To bring about conformity in the field of education.
Read more about SC and ST
Thus, we can rightly say that inclusion of children belonging to socially disadvantaged section like SC/ST can eradicate their cultural and status deprivation in the field of education which adversely affect their learning efficiency. All children are born with some innate potentialities and capabilities. The right of education is a fundamental as well as birth right of every child. The caste, status can never be the barriers in availing such right. Inclusion in education is the ray of hope for these section of people to avail the provisions made by the constitution, government in the field of education with equal dignity, recognition, with the non-disadvantaged group. Inclusion in education is an approach against social exclusion. It is a means of meeting the goal of ‘Education for All’. Inclusion of these group of children in education will provide a great opportunity to get collective membership with the non-disadvantaged one.