Special Needs Unit opens in Wales- Parents express joy
DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, July 6, 2017
Children in Region Three with learning and attention disabilities are now afforded the opportunity to access quality education, within the region. A Special Needs Units was today opened at Wales Primary School.
The opening of the special needs unit is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Education’s Special Education Needs (SEN) unit and the Regional Democratic Council (RDC).
The pilot unit, which is aimed at ensuring every child below the age of 12 is afforded the opportunity to an education is being welcomed by parents.
Colleen Nixon, a parent of a child who will attend the unit, when school commences in September, said she is overjoyed that the unit is in the region. “It is very good, I have waited for this for a very long time so now that it is here I really appreciate it” Nixon stated.
Diane Jones, another parent applauded the “good initiative” taken by the government to give children with disabilities an education. Jones stated that, “this is nice, very nice, I like this and I would like it to get better and better and open the big school”.
Regional Executive Officer Denis Jaikaran said that the opening of the unit means that teachers in the region will now have to step up to the challenge of helping the students.
“It is going to be different at this time because all of our children at a particular time would be in one place and would have that kind of instruction that would cause them to perform as normal children, that is what we want in this region,” the REO explained.
After the school commences in September, Jaikaran said that an assessment will be carried out on the unit. He said that the results of the assessment will determine if there is a need for establishment of a special needs school in the region.
SEN Officer Savvie Hopkinson delivering the feature address said that all students are capable of learning but all students learn in different ways. Hopkinson said that the unfair treatment students with disabilities face in the classroom complicate their lives when school is intended to transform their lives.
“What is needed is a movement from stigma to strategy. Educators must now be focused on the adoption and application of teaching strategies rather than tendencies to label students negatively… any nation can be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members. Therefore, highfliers and slow learners both require equal attention” Hopkinson explained.
Regional Education Officer Penelope McIntosh said that children with disabilities want the same things normal children aspire to achieve and have. She added that, “children with disabilities can do more of the things that a regular child does but it may take a longer time to do so and they may need assistance. This venture therefore can be viewed as a stepping stone towards helping them have a normal life as any other child”.
The unit is slated to have 10 students and three teachers when classes commence in September.
By: Isaiah Braithwaite