Inclusive education plan, a failure?

Dadeldhura, May 26:

Most government programmes fail despite heavy investment, thanks to the hasty decisions made in introducing them. Similar is the case of Inclusive Education (IE) classes in Dadeldhura district meant to provide education to the disadvantaged groups and disabled children.

Ironically, the schools that were selected for such classes in the district have no disabled children in the vicinity. The IE was launched as a pilot programme in Banke, Udaypur, Sindupalchok, and Karve in 1998. It was expanded to 22 districts covering 210 schools throughout the counttry last year.

A school selected for the programme is given an incentive of Rs 25,000 a year to build infrastructure, buy learning materials and provide teachers’ training. The aim is to provide education to all children including the poor, Dalit, disabled and the disadvantaged. However, the schools selected lacked infrastructure and the teachers lacked proper training.

The Bhumiraj Primary School (BPS) at Baghchour, Amargadi-8, is one of the six IE schools. However, there isn’t a single disabled child other than children from the marginalised group. Of the total 93 students, the school has 28 Dalits and seven students belong to the Janajatis.

Kamal Singh Jhukal, the principal of BPS was proud to say that the students in his school never faced discrimination and that children from the marginalised group are attending the school since its inception in 1995.

There are only two disabled children in the area — one is studying in a private school while the other doesn’t attend one.

“Parents do not want to send their children to school. Moreover, teaching a mentally retarded child would be a difficult task,” said Jhukal.

Only six schools here are conducting IE classes. As per the plan, there should have been six more from this year.

“There has been no detailed survey after the programme was launched. The situation was not favourable. Hence, only schools which could be monitored easily were selected,” an official at the DEO said under condition of anonymity.

Besides, out of the six members of the training team, only one is working currently at the DEO, while the rest have either been transferred or taken retirement.

Pushkar Bhatta, the acting District Education Officer said the Department of Education (DOE) made a delay in informing the DEOs regarding the selection of schools and conducting the trainings this year.