Education for persons with locomotor disability
Children with disabilities are less likely to participate in and complete their education compared to their peers without disabilities.
In South Asia, an estimated 29 million children - 12.5 million at the primary level and 16.5 million at the lower secondary level - were out of school in 2018. Of these, a considerable proportion is estimated to be children with disabilities. Despite overall progress in education attainment globally, children with disabilities remain one of the most excluded from education. They are less likely to participate in and complete their education compared to their peers without disabilities.
The Constitution of India guarantees education for all children aged 6 to 14 years (Article 21A)2. Although it prohibits discrimination “on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them” (Article 29.2)3 in access to state or state-supported educational institutions, the constitution lacks explicit mention of anti-discrimination of persons with disabilities in educational institutions.
For the existing barriers for persons with locomotor disabilities to be worked on, they need to be actively addressed and eventually removed by all stakeholders to ensure an inclusive school environment. Working on the elimination of barriers and the creation of solutions requires the cooperation, involvement, and participation of various stakeholders, including the government, school management, and families of children.
Here listed are some solutions for physical barriers:
In schools with multiple storeys, all classes for children and adults with locomotor disabilities can be on the ground floor, or access to be provided in upper floors by appropriate ramps or lifts
One desk to be used by a maximum of 2-3 children and there is to be adequate space for children using assistive devices
There are to be clear spaces for knees and footrests for wheelchair access to tables and workbenches
The heights of at least some seats and desks to be made adjustable as per children’s size and height
Easy access to water and grab bars in toilets
Partnering with experts in accessibility and doing an audit of the existing infrastructure can help bring clarity to the areas of improvement and any corrective measures that need to be taken to make an environment barrier-free and accessible for persons with disability.