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Education for children with disabilities

Children in classroom

Secondary education for children with disabilities in India

Project summary

The Ministry of Human Resource Development, India, wishes to identify cost-effective ways to include children with special needs, including the most severely challenged, in mainstream schools; and explore how the innovative use of ICTs can help respond to the challenges faced by children with special needs.

Through an analysis of data concerning provision of education for children with special needs in India, the study aims to:

  • look at the numbers of children identified as having special needs in India as a percentage of the school-aged population and how this compares with international norms; the particular challenges to meeting the needs of children with special needs in India; comment on current budgetary provision and unit cost of existing children with special needs initiatives under Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan; offer costed policy options with the potential to increase access / learning for children with special needs drawn from national and international experience;
  • examine educational provision at secondary level for children with special needs in a small number of states, identifying any examples of good practice in India – including the use of ICTs;
  • review the strategies and approaches that a small number of other emerging economies are following to address the needs of children with special needs.

The study aims to produce the following outputs:

  • summary of the current level of provision at secondary level (number of institutions, students, teachers, funding, etc.), including examples of how innovative use of ICTs is supporting the education of children with special needs;
  • overview of the institutional set-up for children with special needs: how schools are providing access, how they are meeting learning needs, where responsibility lies at national and sub-national levels within the system (policy, funding, lead ministry, coordination across ministries, etc.), identification of students with special needs and relationships between general and special schools;
  • review of the cost-effectiveness of current provision and propose an alternative model of provision;
  • summary of examples of good practice from other emerging economies and useful lessons that India might consider adopting/ adapting;
  • highlighting of key questions which the Indian system may need to consider as it seeks to expand provision for children with special needs at the secondary level.

Research team

Principal Investigator: Dr Nidhi Singal

Country Partners: Anuradha De, CORD


May 2015 - 31 October 2015


Cambridge Education, UK


Loosening the purse strings: Financing the education of children with disabilities in India
Anuradha De and Nidhi Singal, The Education Commission, 20 October 2016