According to Section 26(a) of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Right and full Participation) Act, 1995, every child with a disability has access to free education in an appropriate environment till he attains the age of eighteen years.
A Centrally Sponsored Scheme called “Inclusive Education for the Disabled at the Secondary Stage (IEDSS)” was launched in April, 2009. The objective of the scheme is to enable all students with disabilities, who complete eight years of elementary education, to pursue secondary education (classes IX to XII) in an inclusive and enabling environment. The budget provision for the scheme for 2010-2011 is Rs.70.00 crore.
Under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) which is a flagship programme to universalize elementary education, the policy of zero rejection of children with special needs is followed. These children are educated in the most appropriate environment suitable to their learning needs.
The proviso to Section 3(2) of the Right to Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 states that a child suffering from disability, shall have the right to free elementary education in accordance with the provision of the said Act. The emphasis under SSA and IEDSS is to mainstream the children with special needs in regular schools having an inclusive environment.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Human Resource Development Smt. D. Purandeswari, in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today.