School-readiness programmes piloting government engagement in mainstream inclusive education
- Schools Where All Belong
- Country of Implementation
- Start Year
- First published
“We believe disability inclusion efforts need to show remarkable levels of commitment.” Diana Vincent, Director, Fourth Wave Foundation
Schools Where All Belong is a project of the Fourth Wave Foundation, an NGO supporting inclusive education in the state of Karnataka. It supports children with disabilities in 14 rural districts with its School Readiness Programmes, building pilot models than can be replicated by the State and civil society. Between 2006 and 2023 the project improved access to education for more than 60,000 children. In 2022 the Education Department of Karnataka mandated Fourth Wave Foundation with a major training programme for more than 30,000 participants.
UNESCO’s State of the Education Report for India 2019 notes that there are around 330,000 children with disabilities in Karnataka, of whom approximately 70,000 have never received any education, and nearly 50,000 children went to school but dropped out.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Schools Where All Belong, a project of the Fourth Wave Foundation, operates in the northern part of Karnataka, where the project focuses on children with various types of disabilities, their caretakers, and parents. The programme also works for children with severe and multiple disabilities, employing home-based education. The project is centred on school readiness programmes (SRP) whereby children are prepared for a mainstream classroom, using various therapies and learning, and based on individualized education plans for each child, covering five areas: (1) nutrition, (2) hygiene, (3) social interaction, (4) physical activity, and (5) a mechanism to assess progress and what has proven to be effective for each child. The SRP centres are located in government schools to enable the full participation of children with disabilities in the regular schooling process. Each SRP centre accommodates 50 children, consisting of at least 25 children with severe and multiple disabilities who are home-based but attend the SRP on a weekly basis. Schools Where All Belong also works with state-level teachers and staff on the vocational improvement of the teaching and non-teaching staff at local government schools.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
Funding for Schools Where All Belong comes from the corporate social responsibility budgets of larger Indian companies, which are mandated by law to provide 2 per cent of their revenues to social causes. Fourth Wave Foundation has a collection of resources –including evidence-based solutions, training materials, and a database of volunteers – that can be used to replicate its work with existing government infrastructure and education policies. In 2023 the Department of Education of Karnataka was working with Schools Where All Belong for a capacity-building training programme of 1,200 teachers who will work in SRP-centres run by the State of Karnataka. (Awardee 2024)