Pahla Kadam Model at a Glance
I nfrastructure: Creating a barrier free environment
N ational level policies: Lobbying with government and education departments to devise policies for inclusive education. These have been initiated and are in the pipeline
C apacity building: Recruiting suitable personnel for the implementation process and supporting their development
L egislative reforms PD Act (1995): Emphasis on appropriate educational reforms, placement of children with disabilities based on their needs, which demands that a suitable system be developed to include challenged children in regular schools
U nderstanding the ground level facts of education and ensuring a seamless process
S ensitising administrators, parents, principals, teachers and others in the community
I nitiatives by all those involved in the process of inclusive education
O rganisation of every child in Inclusive Education
N etworking with NGOs, general educators, departments, ministries, central and state governments, existing resources and communities.
In this project, children in the mild and moderate categories receive primary education with their normal peers. RMKM believes that inclusive education is the only way to ensure quality education for all. So far Pahla Kadam has reached out to 259 normal children and special children. Activity-based learning is the main strategy of this project, aimed at building cooperation within the children.
RMKM's efforts in this direction has led to collaborations with well-known schools of Ajmer district, namely Mayo Girls, Mayo Boys, St Stephens and Savitri for inclusive education practices. Its aim is to spread the ideology of inclusion throughout the state of Rajasthan. Therefore training in inclusion is imparted to government school teachers while Anganwadi Workers (ANMs) are trained in early detection of disabilities among special children.
The activities which are part of the regular curriculum at the day-care centre under 'Pahla Kadam' at Minu Manovikas Mandir Inclusive School, Chachiyawas, Ajmer, Sanjay Special School, Beawer and Ummeed School, Pushkar are:
- Prayer, physical exercise and yoga
- Reading and writing
- Numbers and time
- Speech therapy
- Vocational training
- Motor activity
- Daily living activities
- Domestic work
- Music therapy
- Counselling services to the parents of these children
This need-based programme is given to the children in the following areas:
- Fine motors
- Gross motor
- ADL (includes grooming)
- Reading and writing
- Speech development
Regular physiotherapy sessions are conducted with the children by a trained therapist. Therapists also provide training to parents so that they can replicate the therapies at home with the children. This is regular activity at the day-care centre with children under the Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) programme.
An impact analysis of RMKM's inclusive education programme was conducted by Subir Shukla and Surendra Singh of IGNUS-ERG in November 2008. The study sought to assess the nature of impact of the programme and the degree to which the key objectives had been attained and reflected well on RMKM's inclusion and rehabilitation efforts as well as on its basic standing as an organisation leading the movement towards inclusive education.
The impact of reverse inclusion is also apparent in the study, borne out by the following observations below taken from detailed analysis and case studies in the report:
"...the relationship between the disabled and non-disabled children has also undergone a sea change from the earlier time when the normal children were afraid of the MR (mentally retarded) children. Over time, the fear has been replaced with togetherness.
- The two groups of children can be seen having their Tiffin together, helping the disabled children wash their hands for lunch, or putting on shoes for a child who is not able to, or helping the child move around. Working in groups is quite common.
- When the final bell rings for the day, normal children don't rush out. Instead they help to get the special children to the bus. They pack their school bags and then take them to the bus."
Source: An Impact Analysis of RMKM's Inclusive Education Effort, Subir Shukla and Surendra Singh, November 2008