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Thailand takes first steps on long road to inclusive mainstream education | Global deve... - 0 views

  • Cultural barriers continue to deny disabled children access to schools, but progress on inclusive education is finally gathering
  • The strict hierarchy of Thai society means the drive for inclusive education needs strong commitment from both politicians and school leaders. In the past decade, there has been significant political progress in moves to implement a system that ensures children with disabilities have access to mainstream schools. However, with cultural barriers and resistance from some headteachers, the journey towards fully inclusive education has only just begun.
  • Some headteachers Lennon spoke to were amenable to the concept of inclusive education, but didn't feel they had the resources or training to implement it effectively. Others, with decades of experience of working in special schools, felt this institutional model was more suitable.
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  • However, many headteachers in Vorapanya's study cited the Buddhist belief in the need for compassion as a reason they support inclusive education. Meanprasat private school in Bangkok, which combines western-style "child-centric" learning with a Buddhist ethos of moral ethics and regular meditation, is recognised as a national leader in integrated educational practices. In total, 130 of its 1,300 students are disabled. The school's philosophy is that children with disabilities "should have the chance to mix with society and be accepted by it". More than 5,000 teachers visit the school annually and attend workshops held to help spread good practice.
  • Nanthaporn (Nuey) Nanthamongkol, a six-year-old girl with Down's syndrome, was due to be sent to a distant boarding school before he intervened. "Without our work, Nuey would have been separated from her parents, sent to a school 80km away," says Lennon. "For kids with Down's syndrome, this is the worst possible thing you could do."
  • State schools, however, which have much less funding, have been described by Vorapanya as having "woefully insufficient resources" to implement inclusive education properly. Headteachers have complained that while schools can now access a minimum of 2,000 baht (approximately £41) funding for each disabled child, this is not enough to cover the required resources or training expenses. Another problem is that this funding can only be given if the child has been officially certified with a disability. Teachers have reported that some parents do not want this social stigma or are fearful that this certification will lead to discrimination.

    Despite the significant challenges, Lennon is optimistic. "We are making great strides," he says. "If we keep doing good, the results will surely follow."

Teachers Without Borders

$48m to train teachers of disabled students - 0 views

    ALMOST $48 million of federal money to help children with disabilities in NSW schools will be spent on teacher training, the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, said.

    The money is part of a $200 million program to improve resources for disabled students announced in the federal budget last year, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, said yesterday.

    Under the agreement, which NSW is the first state to sign, the money can be spent on technical aids, teacher training or additional staff.
Teachers Without Borders

Rwanda makes gains in all-inclusive education | Society | Guardian Weekly - 0 views

  • In Rwanda, children with disabilities typically face discrimination and are excluded from school and community life. Silas Ngayaboshya, a local programme manager for Handicap International (HI), says that "many families hide their kids at home because having a disability is a shameful thing for the child and the family, as it's considered to be a punishment from God".
  • Rwanda's ministry of education says that 10% of young people have disabilities, while the Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report 2010 concludes that the number of disabled children at school is likely to be small. A few attend their local mainstream school, though most go to special schools and centres in urban areas, too far for most Rwandans and mainly for children with visual or hearing impairments.
  • Despite these shortcomings, Rwanda's education system overall is considered to be one of the most progressive in Africa. The government recently introduced free compulsory education for the first nine years of school for all Rwandan children (this initiative is expected to increase to 12 years from next year). According to Unicef, Rwanda now has one of the highest primary school enrolment rates in Africa (95% of boys and 97% of girls in 2009). 
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  • Currently, the ministry of education and Unicef fund 54 "child-friendly" schools across Rwanda, which also provide "best-practice" examples to other schools in their cluster areas. A 2009 Unicef report on the initiative indicates that they have assisted 7,500 disabled children. The government is aiming to expand the programme to 400 schools nationwide by 2012, and has also adopted it as the basic standard for all Rwanda's primary schools.
  • Ngayaboshya, who worked with Claude, says that his inclusion plan also involved preparing the teachers and the other children at his school through measures such as pinning up Claude's picture in the classroom, talking in class about how disability can occur, inviting the class to contribute ideas that could help to include him, and encouraging Claude's father to visit the school and show teachers simple measures to assist his son.
  • It took weeks to integrate Claude into school life, but he now gets good grades and is making friends. And he walks over a kilometre every day on his crutches to go to school. Although it is a long way he doesn't mind the journey, and is excited about the classroom. 
  • Undoubtedly there are complex challenges for disabled learners in Rwanda. These include the lack of awareness among families that children with disabilities can attend school; poverty (poor families might need their children to support them with looking after animals, fetching water or firewood); the effects of the genocide in 1994, including the massacre of thousands of teachers that has reduced their numbers (the pupil-teacher ratio in Rwanda is as high as 60:1 according to HI); and the burden placed on resources by a curriculum shift from French to English as the official language of instruction.
Teachers Without Borders

INEE | Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies - 0 views

    "Key Resources

    * INEE Pocket Guide to Supporting Learners with Disabilities
    * INEE Pocket Guide to Inclusive Education (available in English, French, and Spanish)
    * INEE Minimum Standards Toolkit Thematic Guide: Disability and Inclusive Education
    * The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education
    * Inclusive Education: An EFA Strategy for All Children (by Susan Peters)
    * Index for Inclusion (available in several different languages, for several different contexts)
    * Developing Learning and Participation in Countries of the South: The Role of an Index for Inclusion (by Tony Booth & Kristine Black-Hawkins)

Teachers Without Borders

Best Practices in Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities: Applica... - 0 views

  • Best Practices in Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities: Applications for Program Design in the Europe & Eurasia Region
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