Education is one of the most basic and powerful resources especially for a nation that is developing. It builds the future society in an altogether different manner.
Various forms of impediments continue to obstruct educational involvement of children with reduced mobility or different abilities. The obstacles include
- Inaccessible transportation to school
- inaccessible school facilities such as drinking water units
- mid-day meal areas
- Inaccessible restroom in terms of infrastructure
- inappropriate classroom furniture
- slippery flooring
- insufficient illumination and ventilation
- Inaccessible conveyance and teaching modalities
All of which can severely hamper the learning process.
During accessibility audits conducted in 500 schools across 16 Indian states from 2012 to 2014, it was discovered that school infrastructure was often inaccessible and unsafe for children with reduced mobility due to a lack of expertise and understanding of accessibility standards among construction personnel and school administration. This made it difficult for them to be safe and access and use classrooms, playgrounds, libraries, drinking water units, toilets, mid-day meal areas, and other facilities.
Access can be ensured in school areas through-
- Proper clearance areas in entry and exit points
- Use of safe ramps with proper width, installed with anti skid tiles and railing to ensure safe mode of travel for walking and wheeling alike
- Toilets that are made with proper space and allows easy use for those with reduced mobility
- Furniture that can be adjusted according to the height of the students
- Guiding blocks to ensure that those with visual and locomotor impairment can safely navigate the school premises
- Drinking water units that are of appropriate height to be accessed by the students
- Constant audits to ensure improvement etc.
Simple yet significant measures including infrastructure, audits, services — can prove to be absolutely helpful for children with reduced mobility, something which is need of the hour!