Concept of Inclusive Education & Understanding Children with Special needs Inclusive Education: Definition and Concept

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Concept of Inclusive Education

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Concept of Inclusive Education: Definition and Concept



Inclusive Education denotes that all children irrespective of their strengths and weaknesses will. be part of mainstream education. Thus, inclusive education means, the act of ensuring that all children despite their differences, receive the opportunity of being part of the same classroom as other children of their age, and in the process get the opportunity to being exposed to the curriculum to their optimal potential

Every child is special for his/her parents and every child has a special need for love, acceptance and a feeling of belongingness. Here, we call children with special needs to those who are different from their cohorts. They are born equal with some limitations and with the help of inclusion be able to actively participate as equal citizens in all aspects of society and community life. Thus, children with special needs refer to all those children who require adaptations to the normal process of education due to problems of vision, hearing, movement, learning and intellect.” In other words, these children have some kind of disability,

Disability: Definitions

Disability refers to any limitations experienced by the disabled in comparisons to able persons of similar age, sex and culture. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons has defined disabled person as any person unable to ensure by himself or herself, wholly or partly, the necessities of a normal individual and/or social life, as a result of a deficiency either congenital or not, in his or her physical or mental capabilities


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has made distinctions between the definitions of impairment, disability and handicap as follows: 

  • Impairment is any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function generally taken to be at organ level pairment is a damage to tissue due to disease or trauma.
  • A disability is any restriction or lack of ability (resulting from an impairment) to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.
  • A handicap is a disadvantage for an individual resulting from impairment or disability that limits or prevents fulfilment of a role that is normal (depending on age, sex and social cultural factors) for that individual. Handicap is a condition or burden, which is imposed on the person confronted with the disability.

Types of Disability According to the PWD Act, 1995

The PWD Act, 1995 has given the following seven types of disability as:

  • Blindness
  • Low Vision
  • Leprosy cured
  • Hearing impairment
  • Locomotor disabilities 
  • Mental retardation
  • Mental illness


The last two decades of the 19th century has witnessed the knowledge and processes of educating the disabled

children through Christian Missionaries. The first school for the deaf was established in Mumbai in 1883 and the first school for the blind in Amritsar in 1887. At that time, it was believed that children with disabilities could not be educated along with normal children. Therefore, education to disabled children was offered through special school. This trend continued in the early sixties of the last century with the help of some international agencies who developed programmes of integrated education. Here, children with disabilities were placed in regular school so that they could study along with their non-disabled peers”. The integrated education adopts various models for service delivery. Presently the emphasis is on the need to provide education for all in appropriate environment with inclusive philosophy through inclusive education

Integrated Education for the Disabled Children (IEDC)

With the development of science and technology and improvement in Medical Services and Aggressive rico-natal intervention has ensured that a large number of babies who would earlier have not survived but often with different abilities. The number of differently abled children is on the increasing trend but it is not possible to create the required number of special schools throughout the country to meet this challenge due to the high cost and also due to the fact that the population is so scattered. The best alternative under these situations is to make use of the infrastructural facilities already present in terms of regular schools and integrate children into the mainstream of education.

Consequent on the success of international institutions in introducing differently abled children in regular schools, the planning commission, Govt. of India, in 1971 includes in its plan a programme for integrated education. In 1974, the Union Government introduced a scheme called “Integrated Schools” to do just this. This scheme was later revised and a plan of action formulated. The important aims of EDC includes:

  • Provide educational opportunities to differently abled children in regular schools.
  • Facilitate retention of differently abled in the school system.
  • Integrate children from special school to common schools.

The scope of the scheme of IEDC includes pre-school training, counselling for the parents, and special training in skills for all kinds of differently abled children. It provides facilities in the form of books, Stationary, uniforms and allowances for transport, reader and escort etc.

Project Integrated Education for the Disabled (PIED)

This scheme was launched by MHRD Govt of India in collaboration with UNICEF in 1987 to strengthen the integration of differently abled into regular schools, Under this scheme, a cluster instead of individual school is given importance. This scheme is an improvement over the special schools in one or many ways and provides a way towards universalisation of elementary education and Education for All Including for differently abled children


Integrated education assumes a process of bringing disabled children into mainstream schools, where the system remains the same. As per the system, the child is the problem. So, it is essential to change the child where the resources are focused on the individual child. The failure is due to the child’s problem; he is not able, not ready, not good enough to cope up with the system

In integrated education, it is the children with disabilities who are seen as the problem, who must be “fixed”. “changed” & adapted to suit the existing regular, mainstream school. It is the disabled child who is seen as a squire peg in a round table. The system remains the same. The onus for successful integration therefore, is on the disabled child.


Assumptions of inclusive education is opposite to integrated education. Inclusive education assumes that changes the system to fit the child. It is essential to address all types of individual needs, not just disability. Teachers and schools are held responsible for children’s learning. It focuses on flexibility of curriculum, teacher training and change in environment. Failure is the problem with the system not with the child, It is quite essential to assumes that nil children can learn that all children need, their learning to be supported in diverse ways

In this model of inclusive education, it is not the child, but the education system, which is seen as a problem. Therefore, it is the system (with all its components) which should be changed, modified & enough to make it flexible to accommodate the diverse needs of all learners, including children with disabilities. The onus for success is therefore on the flexibility of the system. It focuses on the environment, as the “disabling” cause because it fails to provide appropriate access to equal opportunities for all persons to participate fully in social life.

Though integrated education of differently abled children has gained momentum all over the country since 1974, there are some other possibilities too for these children to get education. For example, the NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling) offers education which has the advantage of being specially adapted to the needs of every child as well as aimed at giving the child every opportunity to progress at his/her pace. Another example is alternative schooling and community-based rehabilitation programmes.


Despite more than half a century of independence, India is struggling for freedom from various kinds of biases and imbalances such as rural/urban, rich/poor, and differences on the basis of caste, religion, ideology, gender etc. Education can play a very significant role in minimising and finally eliminating these differences by providing equality of access to quality education and opportunity

Equality of opportunity means ensuring that every individual receives suitable education at a pace and through methods suited to hister being. Children of the disadvantaged, and socially discriminated groups and also those suffering from specific challenges must be paid special attention.

Provision for equal opportunity to all not only in access, but also in the conditions for success is a precondition for the promotion of equality. The curriculum must create an awareness of the inherent equality of all with a view to removing prejudices and complexes transmitted through the social environment and the factor of birth.


Equality among sexes is a fundamental right under the constitution of India. The state, however, also has the right to exercise positive protective discrimination in favour of the disadvantaged population groups including women. Emphasis in education has has moved from Equality of Educational Opportunity (NPE, 1968) to “Education for Women’s Equality and Empowerment (1986). As a result, the curricular and training strategies for the education of girls now attention. Besides, making education demand more accessible to more and more girls, especially rural girls, removing all gender discrimination and gender bins in school curriculum, textbooks and the process of transaction is absolutely necessary. There is a need to develop and implement gender inclusive and gender sensitive curricular strategies to nurture generation of girls and boys who are equally competent and are sensitive to one another, and grow up in a caring and sharing mode as equals, and not as adversaries.


For achieving a cohesive society it would be essential to respond to specific educational needs of learners from different sections of the society with special emphasis on the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the other socially and economically disadvantaged groups. In order to do so, there is a need for integrating the socio-cultural perspective rarities and pedagogic requirements. Implications by showing concern for their linguistic of the multilingual and multicultural environment shall have to be taken care of through specifically devised methodology. Contextualisation of curriculum shall have to be effected through N curricular materials. The fundamental rights of the disadvantaged groups have to be consciously incorporated in the curriculum. Even the problem of educating the migrating population shall have to be handled through specific condensed educational programmes based on the main ingredients of the national curriculum


An educational system has the dual role of promoting Man through creation. It important that the the broad equality as well as excellence. Education is increasingly called upon to liberate all the creative potentialities of human consciousness. essentially ruins himself in and is in the context of this, that education of gifted and talented children assumes great importance. A curricular programme while on the one hand should identify such children, on the other it should also nurture their diverse creative abilities by special attention. It is also fed by paying them identification and nurturance begins right from the earliest stage of education. Moreover, the task of identifying the gifted and talented must be accomplished on the basis of conceptualisation of the process from multiple perspectives rather than as a search for a unitary human attribute. Not only their IQ (Intelligence Quotient) but also their EQ (Emotional Quotient) and SQ (Spiritual Quotient) ought to be assessed


Kothari Commission (1964-66)

The Kothari Commission first suggested that the education of handicapped children has to be organised not merely on humanitarian grounds, but also an aspect of utility. The commission emphasised that the education of children with disabilities should be an inseparable part of the general education system. The commission also specifically emphasised that the education of children with disability should be “an inseparable part of the general education system. The commission also specifically emphasised, the importance of integrated education in meeting this target as it is cost effective and useful in developing mutual understanding between children with and without disabilities

National Policy on Education (1986)

The National Policy on Education was adopted by Indian Parliament in 1986. The policy emphasized the removal of disparities, and ensuring equalisation of educational opportunity under its para education of the disabled.

National Policies for Persons with Disabilities (2006)

This recognises that persons with disabilities are valuable human resources for the country and seek to create an environment that provides them equal opportunities, protection of their rights and full participation in society 

Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights & Full Participation) Act, 1995

Landmark legislation in the history of special education in India is the persons with Dichilitics Act, 1995. This comprehensive Act covers seven disabilities, namely blindness, low vision, hearing impaired, loco-motor impaired, mental retardation, leprosy cured and mental illness.

The Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) Act, 1992

This Act was passed in 1992 for the purpose of constituting the Rehabilitation Professionals and for maintenance of a Central Rehabilitation Register. It was amended by Rehabilitation Council of India (Amendment) Act 2000 to provide for monitoring the training of rehabilitation professionals and personnel, promoting research in rehabilitation and special education as additional objectives of the council.

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