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Ministry of Education Issues Advisory for Children with Special Needs

New Delhi: In a significant stride towards realizing the objectives set forth in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the Department of School Education & Literacy (DoSEL), Ministry of Education, Government of India, issued a comprehensive advisory to all States and Union Territories (UTs) on June 7, 2024. This advisory underscores the imperative of ensuring that all Children with Special Needs (CwSN), studying in government/government-aided inclusive, home-based, or special schools, receive their entitlements under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009.

Ensuring Access to Education and Nutritional Support

The advisory mandates that CwSN, including those enrolled in special schools under the Social Welfare Department, and students with severe and multiple disabilities in home-based education, are provided RTE entitlements. These include free uniforms, free textbooks, interventions under the Inclusive Education component of the Samagra Shiksha Scheme, and mid-day meals under the PM POSHAN scheme, either in the form of dry rations or Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) as required.

Promoting Inclusive Education

The initiative aligns with the NEP 2020’s vision to achieve equity and inclusion in education, ensuring that every child, including those with disabilities as defined by the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, has access to quality education. The Samagra Shiksha scheme is integral to this effort, providing comprehensive support across all levels of school education.

Key Interventions

Under the RTE Act, financial support is extended to States/UTs for RTE entitlements, catering to diverse needs such as free uniforms, textbooks, and reimbursement for 25% admissions under Section 12 (1) (c) of the RTE Act. The Inclusive Education component further supports CwSN by facilitating aids, appliances, transportation, scribe and escort allowances, and specialized teaching-learning materials.

Nutritional Support Through PM POSHAN

Additionally, the centrally sponsored PM POSHAN scheme ensures nutritional support for children from pre-primary to Class VIII in government and government-aided schools. This initiative plays a crucial role in enhancing the health and well-being of students, including CwSN, by providing them with essential nutrients through meals or DBT.

Empowering Through Education

The Ministry’s advisory marks a pivotal step towards empowering CwSN with access to education and essential support services, thus fostering a more inclusive educational environment. By addressing nutritional and educational needs comprehensively, the initiative aims to enable every child to achieve their full potential.

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