Teachers learning how to incorporate special needs students

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Ministry of Education is currently training Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) teachers how they can make their schools and classrooms more inclusive for special needs students.

The ministry’s Special Education Needs (SEN) Unit aims to help hundreds of students with disabilities who do not have equal and equitable access to educational opportunities.

This announcement was made at today’s launch of the “Inclusion Professional Development Course” by the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) at the Department of Education, Region Three.

Inclusive education means that all students, regardless of ability, attend and are welcomed by their neighbourhood schools in age-appropriate, regular classes and are supported to learn, contribute and participate in all aspects of the life of the school.

Ingrid Trotman, Deputy Chief Education Officer (ag) told DPI that the Ministry of Education is taking steps to ensure that all of Guyana’s children are educated in an equitable manner. “We are gaining momentum, we have sensitization and training workshops ongoing, schools are being visited and the SEN officers are working along with teachers who have children in their classes that are identified as having some amount of special education need.”

At the last sitting of the CXC CSEC examinations, the ministry provided free tutors for a child sitting the examinations who was hospitalised and due to a sudden disability would otherwise have not been able to sit the exams. “We should be able to identify the needs of each child in our classrooms so that we can cater for them,” Trotman added.

In June 1994, the World Conference on Special Needs Education was formed in Salamanca, Spain where the guiding principle was that ordinary schools should accommodate all children, regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic or other conditions. All educational policies, says the principle, should stipulate that disabled children attend the neighbourhood school that would be attended if the child did not have a disability.

By: Nateshia Isaacs.

Images by: Jules Gibson.