Overcoming exclusion of children with disabilities from mainstream schools is an issue that has been discussed and needs to be further discussed. To address the same, an interactive workshop on the topic “Sharing the perspectives of inclusive education” was organised as focus group discussion (FGD) at the Deepak Foundation head office at Vadodara.

The group comprised of mainstream teachers, special educators, experts from special organizations, parents of children with special needs and policy makers hailing from Vadodara, Surat, Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. Archana Joshi, Director of Deepak Foundation was present during the sessions and was also the moderator.

During the discussion sessions, benefits of inclusive education was discussed at length. Empathy and sensitivity among peers, creating a platform of opportunities by inculcating acceptance will create an ecosystem of self-confidence. The session proceeded discussing about the barriers and challenges which includes social attitude, lack of empathy and infrastructure.

“Consortium of Inclusive Education is formed with the basic objective of improving inclusive education with support from network of experts, institutes, parents, teachers and government representatives. This is the second workshop organized, aiming at giving recommendation to the draft of National Education Policy 2019 on measures for Inclusive Education,” said Archana Joshi.

Dr Ruchi Mehta, Strategy Lead, Deepak Foundation and Promila Zalpuri, Secretariat In charge of Consortium for Inclusive Education, Samaj Suraksha Sankul presided over the sessions.

The session was attended by Dr Sanober  and Alka Smart of Disha Charitable Trust, Paras Mahendru, Preschoolguru Education Consultancy, Bipin Mehta, Blind People Association, Deepa Avashya, Hiral Dholakia, Riverside School, Peter Gibson, Enable Me-Access along with other experts from various fields.

Deepak Foundation, after over 35 years of service in the field of healthcare, education, skills and capacity building, and sustainable livelihood, has now ventured into serving children with special needs. Samaj Suraksha Sankul is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between Deepak Foundation and Department of Social Justice and Empowerment (Govt. of Gujarat), under which the foundation has undertaken the operations and management of the institute. Consortium for Inclusive Education, initiated by Deepak Foundation and Samaj Suraksha Sankul, has been actively putting collaborative efforts towards establishing inclusive education.

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