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Sierra Leone News: Sight Savers champion Inclusive Education Policy

Dr. Abdulai Dumbuya making a statement

Dr. Abdulai Dumbuya making a statement

The proposed inclusive education policy was informed by current and international priorities and policies and practices. The existing national policies and initiatives was validated at the Njala Venue in Freetown on Thursday 23 November 2017.
The policy was developed out of a research conducted by researchers from the University of Northampton and commissioned by the education for Children and Disabilities Network and the Ministry of Education Science and Technology. The policy defines “Inclusive as a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all learners through inclusive practices in learning, cultures and communities.”
The policy highlighted ways of reducing exclusion within and from education that involves changes and modifications in content approaches structures and strategies.
The promotion of inclusive education has particular importance for those individuals and groups who have been marginalized within society as a result of poverty, gender, disability or social class. The UNESCO 2015 Sustainable Development Goals emphasized the need for national government to recognized and challenge those factors and conditions that have resulted in exclusion from school for many children.
The Director of Cheshire Home in Sierra Leone Dr. Abdulai Dumbuya, expressed gratitude to Sight Savers for championing the development of the policy pointing that they are happy because it is not focus on specific aspect of disability which makes the document more useful. He said they are happy for government through the ministry of education wiliness to adopt and accept the policy in good faith according to him, will benefits lots of disable and able children in the country.
He said despite the fact that they are calling for an Inclusive Education, government should ensure the training of more special need teachers which before now has been an issue. He said the issue of responding to the diversity of needs among able and disabled children in a classroom by their teachers has been an obstacle.
Dr. Dumbuya pleaded with government to assist the policy with basic implementation control mechanism so the their efforts will meet the intended purpose. He requested for the potential for all children to be able to write, talk, and also have assisted devices and that of the availability of special need teachers.
The Director of Programs at the Ministry of Education Mansaray Milton Piers, on behalf of the Minister confirmed the non-availability of teachers in special need areas to handle disable. He however assured of ensuring the Ministry champion the policy for the attention of parliament for adoption stating that, presently only the University of Makeni (UNIMAK) do offer training of special need teachers which the government will try to work on.
The Country Director for Sight Savers Nancy Smart said her organization has been working for children with disability for over 50 years in the country but they are worried on means through which they can include children with disability on the education agenda.
She said in 2012 at the International Disable Day the Minister of Education did promised the country with a disability policy since then to date, withy have been active in ensuring the proposed policy is developed. He said 10 years ago they cannot talk on inclusive education but with the policy is a major success for them.
The Kailahun district coordinator for Sierra Leone Union on Disability Francis Paul Borbor Tucker, said the entire district don’t have school for persons with disability stressing that the 1991 constitution did called for the establishment of schools after every 4 miles. He said there are few special need schools and teachers in the country and that if the policy is to be effective basic structures needs to be put in place.
The 1994 UNESCO Salamanca Statement and Framework for ‘Action on Special Needs Education’ asserted the right of ‘all children’ regardless of need or ability to access formal education under the administration of national government agencies. In 2009 also, the Global Report on ‘Better Education for All’ which is an International model of Inclusive education, acknowledges that whilst significant progress had been toward achieving universal primary education, there is a need for comprehensive national policies to remain as an issue in many countrie
By Mohamed Kabba
Twitter: @chikakabba
Monday November 27, 2017.

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