If my child has a mental illness, can they get admission in the neighborhood school?
The right to education is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21-A of the Constitution of India. This right is now specifically enforced by the Right to Education Act (RTE), 2009, which entitles every child between the age of six and fourteen years to free and compulsory education in a neighborhood school.
If your child's illness is certified as a disability under the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act (PWD Act) 1995, then they are entitled to free education until they are 18 years of age.
If my child is mentally ill, do they have to attend a special school for persons with special learning needs?
Section 26(b) of the PWD Act 1995 stipulates that the government or the local authority must endeavor to promote the integration of students with disabilities into regular schools.
If my child has special needs for education, and a regular school does not cater to their specific needs, where can I get my child an education?
It is the duty of the government and local authorities to ensure that children with disabilities have access to special schools, whether government schools or private, to ensure that their specific needs are catered to. This is laid down in section 26(c) of the PWD Act.
Section 26(d) also states that such schools should provide vocational training facilities so that your child may learn ways to earn a living.
Are there other special schemes that my child is eligible for, given their special needs?
Yes, there are special circumstances where it is the duty of the government to help your child with their education. If your child is unable to attend school full-time due to their illness, then the government must conduct part-time classes so that your child may receive an education. The government should also strive to set up open schools and universities so that children with disabilities have access to such education. It is also the duty of the government to initiate schemes by way of which children with disabilities have access to special books and other learning equipment free of cost. Section 27 of the PWD Act enforces this responsibility on the government.
Will regular teachers have know how to deal with the special needs of my child?
Not all teachers have the requisite expertise to deal with the special educational needs of children. However, by virtue of section 29 of the PWD Act, it is the duty of the government to develop teachers' training programs so that there is adequate manpower in special schools and integrated schools to cater to the needs of children with mental illness and disability.