Barrier-free access refers to universal access for all children to inclusive schools. While there are many barriers that need to be addressed — the curriculum, and teaching-learning practices and materials, among others — to make a school inclusive, this guidebook speci fi cally focuses on infrastructural barriers and provides practical, cost-effective and technical solutions for making the physical environment of a school safe, accessible and friendly for children with disabilities.
During accessibility audits conducted in 500 schools across 16 states in India in 2012-2014, it was found that due to lack of expertise and understanding of access standards amongst construction personnel and school administration, school infrastructure was often barrier- fi lled and unsafe for children with disabilities. This hampered their access to and use of classrooms, playgrounds, libraries, drinking water units, toilets, mid-day meal areas, and other areas.3 This guidebook has been prepared to:
i. Provide guidance on making the school infrastructure accessible for children with disabilities.
ii. Assess school facilities and infrastructure and provide design solutions based on national accessibility standards.