Special needs teachers require continuous training – Education Minister

GINA, GUYANA, Monday, November 14, 2016

Special Needs Schools must be equipped with physical and educational and sufficient human resources to enable small group teaching and individualised programmes. This is the view of Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine.

The Minister also said that special needs teachers need to be able to benefit from the continuous guidance and oversight provided by specialists. The minister was at the time delivering remarks at a special ceremony held at the Diamond Special Needs School in recognition of a grant from ExxonMobil to equip the school’s teachers for the delivery of special education.

Minister of Education Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine

Minister of Education Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine

The Minister said that the Ministry also recognises that upgrading of the knowledge and skills of Special Needs teachers is a crucial to addressing the needs of children with specific disabilities. With this in mind, he explained that the Ministry has begun negotiations with the Step by Step Foundation for children with autism.

“The foundation and the school it runs can provide excellent theoretical and practical training opportunities for the Ministry’s teachers,” the Minister said.  Minister Roopnaraine said that the Ministry needs to provide such training for selected teachers across Guyana, “so that children with autism in all regions can benefit from excellent educational opportunities.”

The Ministry of Education has made a good start in addressing the needs of children with specific disabilities, but in addition to teacher training, Minister Roopnaraine said that there are a number of other issues that the Ministry still needs to address.

“We need to improve public awareness, and reduce the stigma associated with the physical, mental and behavioural challenges of our special needs children,” the Minister said. The Ministry also needs to address the difficulties that these children face using public transport, and in finding suitable employment opportunities, he said.

The grant from ExxonMobil not only provides for a training course for the teachers, but also funds disability friendly physical works including pantry and washrooms at the Diamond Special Needs School.

The ceremony marked the completion of the physical works and the commencement of the training. The latter is being facilitated and certified by the Institute of Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE) of the University of Guyana.

Guyana’s constitution requires that all children should have access to appropriate educational facilities but because of the absence of appropriate physical facilities and trained teachers to handle special needs, and the individual challenges of special needs children, inclusivity is not always appropriate and hence the need for schools like the Diamond Special Needs School.



By: Macalia Santos