Kd's e-pathsala My Journals A Survey of Physical Barriers for Inclusion of the Persons with Disabilities in Secondary Schools in Hooghly

A Survey of Physical Barriers for Inclusion of the Persons with Disabilities in Secondary Schools in Hooghly

Ghosh, Sanjukta., Das, Koushik (September, 2019). A Survey of Physical Barriers for Inclusion of the Persons with Disabilities in Secondary Schools in Hooghly. Cognizance The New Vistas of Education & Psychology, ISBN: 978-93-88207-28-7, Vol-2, 150-160.


A Survey of Physical Barriers for Inclusion of the Persons with Disabilities in Secondary Schools in Hooghly


Abstract: Inclusive education is a process of strengthening the capacity of the education system to reach out to all learners. It means that all children, regardless of their strength or weakness are accommodated in a school and become a part of the same community. But children with disabilities a minority that is not prioritized in the context of our Indian society. Removing barriers to accessing education and to learning for children with disabilities are prerequisites for the realization of education for all. The study used 15 structured interview schedules, 10 for headmistress/headmaster of the schools and other five for persons with disabilities in schools. The total study was conducted in Hooghly. The sample size for the study is 30, in which 10 are headmistress/headmaster of schools and 20 are persons with disabilities in schools. The study employed survey method and relied on questionnaires as instrument for the collection of data. The data were qualitatively analyzed. The study provides an overview of physical barriers of inclusion in schools and the study also provide some information about what kind of challenges they are face which are really a obstacle to achieve their goals.


Keywords: Inclusive education, Disability, Persons with disability



Inclusion is a term which expresses commitment to educate each child to the maximum extent appropriate, in the school and classroom he or she would otherwise attend. Inclusion of persons with disabilities in school is a process that requires collaboration among multiple individuals, with teachers, aides, parents, students and school systems playing important roles in resolving student problems.(courtesy of Google) The fundamental right of children with disabilities to receive an education was the first issue to mobilize the community living movement in the 1950s.

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) first stated in 1994 that “Inclusive schools were the most effective way to counter discriminatory approaches and attitudes towards students. According to UNESCO (2009) – an inclusive education system can only be created if ordinary schools become more inclusive- in other words, if they become be better educating all children in their communities. According to Salamanca statement “Regular schools with this inclusive orientation are the most effective means of combating discriminatory attitudes, creating welcoming communities, buildings an inclusive society and achieving education for all…” (Article 2, Salamanca Statement). The Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2012 gave the importance on inclusion. The recommended- 1. Admit students with disabilities without discrimination and provide them education as also opportunities for sports, recreation and leisure activities on equal basis with others. 2. Make their building, campus and various facilities accessible to students with disabilities. 3. Provide reasonable accommodation of the individual’s requirements. 4. Provide necessary support. 5. Ensure that education to persons who are blind, deaf or deaf-blind is…..” delivered in the most appropriate languages and means of communication for the individuals.  In 1990 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) proclaimed that –“there is no reason to segregate disabled students in public education systems, instead education systems need to be reconsidered to meet the education needs of all students. The study shows that all students whatever the type and extent of their disability, can be successfully included in mainstream school as long as certain safeguards are ensured. According to the report of World Bank and World Health Organization (who), persons with disabilities currently constitute 15 percent of the world’s population, only five percent of disable children in developing countries have access to support or service of any kind and that less than two percent attend school. Physical and attitudinal barriers often prevent families and communities from providing these children with same opportunities that non disabled children have. (CIDA). PWD Act 1995 (PWD act equal opportunities protection of Right and Full participation) promotes the integration of disabled children into normal schools. Government should formulate schemes to provide part time classes, non-formal education and education through open schools and universities for children with special needs. A comprehensive scheme with transport facilities, free books, uniform and other materials, schools without architectural barrier , that provide a restructured curriculum, a modified examinations system as well as scholarships for the benefit of these children.

Despite the having ton of law on inclusive education most of the regular schools still are not become inclusive. One of the main reason is responsible for that, and that is physical barriers in regular schools. This study will show what kind of physical barriers are obstacles for persons with disabilities in normal schools.

 B.J.Scott ,Mrvitale (1998) studied on implementing instructional adaptations for students with disabilities- in inclusive classroom. Baylis and Burden (2000) showed in their study student teachers attitude towards the inclusion of children with special educational needs in the ordinary school. Hasanzada, M. (2002) studied on physical accessibility of persons with disabilities to public places. Alison , Claire. (2009) studied on barriers to school inclusion. Anabel, Marina Diez. (2010) conducted the study on school memories of young people with disabilities: an analysis of barriers and aid to inclusion. Joseph Traves and Tish Balfe. (2010) conducted the study on addressing the challenges and barriers to inclusion in irish schools. Suzanne Carrington. (2010) in their study revealed that inclusion needs a different school culture. This paper address a critical aspect of the changes needed for the development of inclusive schooling and associated professional development for teachers. Abbott and Mcconkey. (2010) studied on barriers to social inclusion as perceived by people with intellectual disabilities. They indent in their study four main barriers- lack of necessary knowledge and skills, role of support staff and service managers, location of house and community factors for social inclusion.  Filiz polat  (2011) studied on inclusion in education and social justice. Their study found that there are numerous barriers to inclusion at national, community and school levels. Anke de boe , Alexander Minnaert. (2011) conducted a study on regular primary school teachers attitudes towards inclusive education.aim of the study was to examine what attitudes teachers hold towards inclusive education. Louise Callan (2013) studied on examining the inclusion of children with special educational needs in a mainstream primary school. The study found there is a willingness among all members of the school community to include children with special needs and the attitude of teachers and all members of the school community contribute to making the primary school inclusive.


Objective of study:

  • To study the physical facilities in the secondary schools for persons with disabilities.
  • To study what kind of physical barriers in school are faced by persons with disabilities?


Hypothesis to be tested: As a matter of fact it is a fact finding exploratory survey study based on interview and statistical hypothesis testing has been avoided.

Research Design: It is a survey type of study with qualitative analysis only.

Tools: The study used fifteen structured interview schedules, ten for the Headmistress/Headmaster of the secondary schools and other five for the persons with disabilities in normal schools. As the tools were structured interview schedules to obtain some information regarding physical barriers of the schools and the researcher was the interviewer, tools were reliable to the extent to which the respondents answered honestly.

Sample: The sample comprised 30. In between 10 are headmistress/headmaster of the secondary schools and 20 are persons with disabilities in normal schools.

Delimitations:  This study has been delimited to the persons with disabilities and in and around Hooghly.

Findings: are based on the analysis and interpretation of the collected data which are based on the interview.


According to the above mention table, out of 10 schools No of 1 school have a ramp, front of the entrance of school building is inadequate space for persons with disabilities. Entire school premises are not disabled friendly at all. Doors and gates of the school buildings and the rooms are too narrow for moving in and out with wheelchair. Every floors of the school are uneven which is a big problem for persons with mobility difficulties and visually handicapped also. There is no washroom/toilet for the persons with disabilities. School has no facilities for visually and hearing impaired students.

No of 2 School have no ramp and has no washroom/toilet for persons with disabilities. There is no accessibility for students with special needs. The classrooms of this school are very small which is very unfit for persons with disabilities. School has no provide any kind of facilities for visually impaired, hearing impaired or mild mental retarded students.

No of 3 School has a ramp. Except these school is unable to provide any types of physical facilities. The school has one student with mobility disabilities and she use crutches. She walks on uneven rocky floor and to climb steps that put her risk of falling.

No of 4 schools just start to take an initiative for persons with disabilities. They modify their toilet for persons with disabilities. The school has no ramp but there is a platform lift which is very poor conditioned. School has Braille. Any kind of communication device is not available in the school for any hearing impaired or mild mental retardation.

No of 5 School have two ramps for persons with disabilities. School has a pictorial teaching learning material for hearing impaired or mental retarded students. There is no toilet for Persons with disabilities. Any platform lift, handrails or railings, or braille are not available in the school. Seating arrangement of the class rooms is not appropriate for persons with disabilities.

No of 6 School has a ramp and has railings in one floor of the school buildings. There is no accessible toilet for persons with disabilities. The School has two students with mobility difficulties. No of few classrooms are at ground floor of the school. Most of the classrooms are at 2nd and 3rd floor of the school, which is very problematic for them. School has also one visually impaired student. School cannot provide any accessibility for her. Sign language is not provided there. Teachers are not trained with that. Even the seating arrangement of the class rooms are not facilitate for her.

No of 7 School have no physical facilities without having a ramp. But school has two students with mild mental retardation and one visually impaired. They have not getting any facility from school. Any kind of device, braille or any equipment for visually handicapped students is not available in the school and no communication device also available in the school. No special care is available for the mental retarded students. There is no resource room in the school for these students.

No of 8 School’s picture is more or less same as no of 7 schools. But 1ramp is available for persons with disabilities in this school. The school has only stairways, and school has 2 students with special needs. In between 1 are wheelchair user, and another 1is paraplegic. And school has no accessible toilet for them, and which is major obstacle for them to maintain the regularity in classroom.

No of 9 School have also no ramp or accessible toilet for persons with disabilities. Any kind of platform lifts and any type of communication devices are unavailable in the school. School has begun to plan to provide some special equipment for persons with disabilities. School has two hearing impaired students but any type of communication device or any pictorial techniques or methods are not available for them.

No of 10 School has no physical accessibility for any kind of persons with disabilities. Currently they are thought to modify their toilet so that everyone can use the toilet.  Entrance to classroom is build with 4 stairs and gap between each stair is very high which is very risky for up and down. School has three students with special needs; two are with mobility difficulties and other one is hearing impaired. But school authorities have no idea about any pictorial methods or communication device.

According to 40% school authorities the main cause of having no accessibility or physical facility is school grant. The school grant is so minimum that no needs of special students could not be fulfilled. Though they have began to take some initiative through the making a ramp or railing in building. But views of the rest 60% school authorities are their negative attitude towards inclusion. According to their opinion school does not take the admission of any kind of students with disabilities because they do not have any accessibility or facility for persons with disability. If any student with special needs take the admission in a normal school then he/she has to take their own responsibility. School would not be able to provide any special arrangement for them. They simply denied to taking the admission of these students. School has only staircase, if they allow to admitting the any students with mobility disabilities then he/she have to be able to get up and down the stairs. Because all time it is not possible to take the classes at ground floor. Besides the infrastructural facilities some students need disability or special aids, because of school location in rural areas which is impossible to procuring, although that are essential to the students participation in school activities.  In their perspective providing the physical or infrastructural facilities in normal schools are very difficult and if the school avail any types of communication device or like that after that nobody knows how to use them or how that would be help to persons with disabilities. Most of the teachers are not qualified and not aware of these types of students needs. Even they do not have proper idea about how to handle these types of students.



Out of 20 persons with disabilities 11 are mobility difficulties. After the interviewing it showed that they face the problems from the school gate to entire school compound. Who use the wheelchair they cannot move independently into the school premises because school building floor or area is not uniform. They always need a helper for operating the wheelchair. Small Classroom size is a very problem to them they cannot move with wheelchair. Their main difficulties are they cannot move one floor to another, because school has no lift or elevators, for moving one floor to another they need a helper who can assist them but school has no helping personnel and parents are not allowed during the classes time.

The picture-1 (source from school) depicting that school has no Special railings for persons with mobility difficulties. The student is with mobility problem and she use walker and crutch. To get up and down she needs little assistance of someone. School has no extra helper for her but her peer groups help her.

According to their information, toilet problem is one of the strong barriers for them. In the picture 2 it is noticeable that the door of this toilet in school is not perfect for wheelchair users and inside the space of the toilet is very narrow and insufficient for these persons with special needs. There is no hand railings for holding and if any  students with mobility difficulties fell down into the bathroom he/she could not wake up because the floor of the toilet is made with tails  so that floor is very slippery. Bathroom wash basin is not also accessible for them.  School has Aqua Guard for drinking water which is not located within their height for accessible for them. Blackboards of the classroom are not installed with the lowest edges from the floor, so that they cannot use it.

Rest among the 9 students 3 is visually impaired. Minimum warning textures are not available in the school building floor or stairways. It is a big problem to them, but their peer groups are very helpful. They play the role as a human guide technique. No audio signal is available on any side of school area. They prefer to take their notes through the tape recorder in the classes and after that they translate the notes from tape into the braille, as school has no braille. The school has computer facility but they cannot use the computer because no computer has modern software techniques which could help them.

Another 4 students are hearing impaired. As the school has no pictorial teaching learning materials so they have to depend on lip reading of the teachers. Large numbers of students in a class create a problem of seating. That’s why proper notice of lip reading of the teacher is sometimes may be difficult for the hearing impaired.

Others 2 students are mild mental retarded. As the school has no resource room or resource teacher. So they cannot get any special classes.



On the basis of above discussion it can be said that school grant is main obstacle for school authorities for removing the physical barriers. So it is suggested that the state should take necessary steps and school grant should be increased.  All the infrastructural facilities of the school should be developed. At least one toilet should be arranged for persons with disabilities. The space of inside the toilet should be broad and wheelchair friendly. Every school should have at least one ramp and railings. Minimum special aids and equipment’s like any type of communication device, special chairs should be available in the school. Floor of the school buildings and toilet should not be slippery. The space of Classroom should be enough so that seating arrangement of the classroom could be appropriate for the persons with disabilities. Blackboard should be installed with a minimum height so that wheelchair users can use. The audio system in the classroom should be improved. There should be some audio signal at main area of the school. School library, playground should be accessible for all types of students. Schools ensure the participation of students with disabilities in all educational activities. Written and visual instructions should be provided to hearing impaired.



Besides the school grant issue another and most important major factor is responsible for deprivation of the persons with disabilities from the normal schools, that is negative attitude of the school authority and as well as our society. There is lots of law and act on inclusive education but nobody concern about it. First of we have to change our mentality towards the persons with disabilities then the necessary steps will be taken for removing the barriers. There are lots of differently able students who never go in normal school and despite having the merit they never come to know what is mainstream education. There is lack of awareness at school, community and every side of society. Necessary steps should be taken to raise the awareness of schools, teachers, and students also so that once they become fully independent.



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