The South India Regional Conference on Inclusive Education, held on Saturday November 26, 2011, discussed the issues and concerns in implementing inclusive education, particularly in the context of visually impaired children. Experts who participated in the conference spoke on the concept of inclusivity and how it is enshrined in the laws and conventions.
The morning sessions were focused on explaining inclusion as a concept, low vision aids and parents’ perspective, which provided the teachers the idea of inclusion. Ms Rajul Padmanabhan, Director-Vidyasagar and Ms Vaishnavi Jayakumar spoke respectively on how inclusion has impacted the planning of our educational system and social attitude towards persons with disability. Ms Deepti Bhatya, Deputy Director of Vidyasagar also spoke on how inclusion is a win-win situation for children and society at large.
The session on low vision aids and accessibility described the various devices used in a classroom context which wuld help children access study material and learn on their own. Dr Krishnakumar and his colleague who spoke on the session showed videos of various low vision aids and how they can be accommodated in schools. Parents session saw an emotional recollection of a parent’s struggle in finding a school for her son, who has now educated and become a lawyer.
In the afternoon session, a string of role models who have come through the inclusive education system explained to teachers how their own schools have managed them and what they could learn from inclusive environment. The overwhelming message was that an inclusive education environment is conducive for overall growth of children with visual challenge.
The final session, which was an open forum, teachers spoke on the challenges in implementing inclusive education and the wish that conferences such as SIRCIE to be conducted in their own cities. Retina India, while explaining the reasons for focusing on inclusive education, also agreed to work with the 80 teachers who attended the conference from Chennai, Tirupati, Ongole, Tiruchi, Coimbatore, etc. to help them spread the message of inclusion amongst their fellow teachers and also speak about it in their schools.
If you wish to see the photographs from this conference, please click here (you will need to be logged into your Facebook account).
This is the first step in creating a platform for inclusive education in which Retina India would work with schools and take efforts to create model schools in different regions.
Thank you to those who graced the occasion, to those who participated in the event, to our sponsors and supporters, without whom we could not achieve this. And lastly, a big thank you to all the volunteers who support Retina India in its endeavours in various projects.
Retina India Team