EDUCATION OF NEURODIVERSE KIDS – PART V
Continuing with my blog series, ‘Education of Neurodiverse Kids’, in today’s blog, I continue with exploring legal status of homeschooling in India and its various approaches.
Homeschooling or other alternative approaches of education is not new in India. Rabindranath Tagore’s Visava Bharati University, Sri Aurobindo’s Sri Aurobindo International Center of Education and Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas about “basic education” are prime examples how educational theorists have discussed and implemented radically different approaches of education in India, as early as 20th century.
However, the legal status of homeschooling in India is still a grey area and hot topic of debate since long amongst parents, lawmakers and educators. Over the years, many petitions have been filed by parents and alternate schools for granting relief from formal schooling. Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) makes formal education a fundamental right of every child between the ages of 6 and 14 and specifies minimum norms for schools. However, as per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (to which India is also a signatory), “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”
Various approaches of homeschooling in India
Homeschoolers use a wide variety of methods and materials and customize them to fit individual learning styles. The most prevalent methods of homeschooling in India are Montessori method, Unschooling, Radical Unschooling, Waldorf education, traditional school at home, etc. Some of these approaches like Montessori and Waldorf are available in school settings also.
Many homeschoolers also follow formal education methods at home through CBSE, NIOS and IGCSE. Of these, IGCSE and NIOS are especially suited for homeschoolers.
National Institute for Open Schooling (NIOS) is the official platform for home-based schooling by the government of India that caters to students through
its academic and vocational education department. It is one of the most popular alternatives to school education in India. For more information, check the link http://www.nios.ac.in
With the increasing popularity of homeschooling in India, many online homeschooling providers, kind of online schools, have also cropped up. Some of the popular ones being 21K School, K8 School, AOL School, etc.
In 2019, Maharashtra government launched ‘Open SSC board’, a platform for athletes, artists, disabled people, seniors and anyone who wishes to continue their academic journey while pursuing others interests and obligations surpassing all hurdles. This move by Maharashtra Government was much welcomed by homeschoolers.
Homeschoolers Support Groups
There are many online support groups for homeschoolers in India. Though most participants are based in major urban Indian cities, these a days there is a considerable presence of homeschoolers in small towns also who either independently educate their children or are associated with alternative schools.
Some of the prominent support groups are
• Swashikshan – Indian Association of Homeschoolers
• Homeschooling by Handholding
• Pune Homeschoolers
• Cascade Family Learning Society , etc
These support groups regularly organise conferences, social meetups, apprenticeships and other activities that allow for mutual support and knowledge-sharing.
In recent years, some homeschooled children in India have been accepted into top higher education institutions such as the IIT and MIT while a number of them also choose to be integrated into mainstream education at some point. The number of homeschooling families in India has been increasing over the years.
In the next blog, we will explore the different homeschooling approaches in detail to understand which of these approaches is best suited for your child. Till then, feel free to share your thoughts on WhatsApp number +919910353219 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Shivani Lohia
Shivani Lohia is a Chartered Accountant by profession and mother to 9 years old child on the autism spectrum. The cause of autism awareness is very close to her heart and she strongly believes in equal education for all & strongly advocates inclusion. She has been homeschooling her son since he was 5 years old.