The COVID-19 pandemic has “severely affected” the education system in India as anywhere else in the world due to the closure of schools, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday. Speaking in Lok Sabha during Question Hour, he said due to the school closures, the Centre, states and educational institutions had to adopt online technologies to ensure that students’ education continued.
Pradhan also said that under the inclusive education component of the ‘Samagra Shiksha’ scheme, financial assistance is provided to states and union territories for undertaking identification and assessment of children with special needs, for aids and appliances, braille kits and books, appropriate teaching-learning material and stipend to girl students with disability for universalisation of school education and reducing the dropout rate. “The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the education system not only in India but also in countries across the world due to the closure of schools,” the minister said.
He said this also led to a situation wherein the Centre, states and educational institutions had to adopt online technologies and the blended mode of education at a very rapid pace to ensure students’ education continued. “The e-contents are supplementing the regular classroom transactions by assisting teachers with UDL (Universal Design for Learning)-based resources to be used in the teaching-learning process,” he added.
Notably, Pradhan said, these resources are also created to aid children in adapting to regular schools and encouraging inclusive classrooms. The minister said the ‘Samagra Shiksha’ scheme also aims to look at the education of Children with Special Needs (CwSN) in a continuum from pre-school to Class 12.
The scheme covers all children with special needs with one or more disabilities as mentioned in the Schedule of Disabilities of the Right of the Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act, 2016 studying in government, government-aided and local body schools, he said.