Do you think that the students under the 25% reservation feel socially accepted? Does there exist a social bias in the society that prevents them from attaining the actual benefits of 25% reservation?
Although there exists limited research on inclusion as a concept, there is enough evidence to prove that inclusion is better for a society. Since 25% reservation under the RTE is already in effect, we need to find ways to bring private schools together and build a holistic inclusion program so that the students from weaker sections and disadvantaged groups, after getting admission, do not feel excluded in the environment and are able to perform at par with their peers. The Right to Education section 12(1) (c) is an opportunity for these students to receive quality education, and this opportunity needs to be converted into a reality.
The Section 12 (1) (c) was mandated for the private unaided schools, who at this time are not equipped to deal with the influx of children from weaker sections and disadvantaged groups. Some schools have come up with social inclusion programs, however good practices adopted in these schools are lost due to lack of formal documentation and evaluation. There is a need to come up with a model of social and academic inclusion that is easily implementable in private schools across the nation. Against this backdrop, it falls on civil society organisations to help schools design robust inclusion programs and facilitate the sharing of best practices across the board.
Under Project Patang, Centre for Civil Society is hoping to build a model for implementation of 25% and as a step towards the same, it is setting up learning centres, which will provide help to students from diverse cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. We shall also hold workshops for all students in the school premises to make them socially aware and help build inclusive schools and classrooms. We are also working with teachers in the private school, where they will learn how to facilitate activity-based lessons, to change mindsets on bias around gender, race, color and caste and help them cater to the diverse set of students. The education system needs to make a step towards inclusion, which will have a great beneficial and a lasting impact on our society.
There are several theories and reports that speak about the importance of inclusion and its effects on society. Please find the links below:
This article has been co-authored by Nikunj Beria, who leads Project Patang at Centre for Civil Society, and Paramjeet Chawla, an intern at the Centre, who is currently pursuing Masters in Development Economics from South Asian University