Soon, Goa’s primary schools to also have resource rooms for special children

PANAJI: The state government is revising its policy on inclusive education to allow primary schools to open resource rooms to admit children with special needs living in the institute’s neighbourhood, said Goa state commissioner for persons with disabilities, Guruprasad Pawaskar. The policy is being altered to meet one of the recommendations of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, as per which all schools are required to have resource rooms.
Having a resource room in the village primary school will mean that special children need not travel long distances only to be able to attend classes. Resource rooms encourage inclusion and discourage segregation of special children from their typical peers. Studying in resource rooms in regular schools is known to show better overall development in the children with special needs.
“The state’s inclusive education policy is being tweaked to include resource rooms at the primary school level. We are working on research projects and have begun training teachers. We have also started training cluster resource persons under Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan and we have held four workshops so far,” Pawaskar said. At present, only around 40 high schools in the state have the provision of resource rooms.
The resource room allows children with special needs to study alongside their ‘typical peers’. It is a separate room in a regular school where children with disabilities or learning difficulties receive extra individualised attention for some of the periods. For other periods, the special children attend classes alongside their typical peers.
“Now, special children will also be able to attend class in the village school. Teachers need to also be sensitive on this subject. Two early intervention centres have also been started by the state, one in each district, to diagnose any disabilities in children. Diagnosis before the age of six is very important to carry out interventions,” said chief minister Pramod Sawant.
Goa already has a scheme for special children in place since 2005, which was later revised in 2008 and 2018. The scheme provides financial assistance to regular schools — mostly high schools at present — to set up resource rooms and practice inclusive education.