Integration of children with disabilities in regular school systems
The year 2014 saw IAS Somalia exclusively focusing its energy in Somaliland. While IAS has engaged in Integrated Water Resourced Management (IWRM) as a thematic area in the region before, this time the focus was on Special Needs Education/Inclusive Education – SNE/IE. Integration of Children With Disabilities (CWDs) in the regular school system in Somaliland is a dream that IAS sees as coming to reality one day, and as such, emphasis for the year 2014 was put on the screening of CWDs.
This included training of teachers and education officials for sustainable inclusive education, engaging parents and guardians of CWDs in active participation of their wards in a bid to enhance the active participation and involvement of everyone in the education of the nation. These activities were mainly in regions of Berbera, Erigavo, and Burao.
Some of the achievements
As the sole thematic area has been Education (SNE/IE), the major goal is the removal of barriers contributing to the exclusion and marginalization of Children with Disabilities (CWDs) in the education system. This is being progressively achieved by:
- Continued screening and assessment of children living with disabilities.
- Teacher training in basic skills and techniques to support learners with diverse abilities, thereby eliminating negative attitudes towards CWDs.
Activities used in this progressive achievement:
- 320 regular primary school teachers from Berbera, Erigavo and Burao were sensitized on the importance of IE; the plight of children with special education needs; the rights of CWDs; classroom organization and management to accommodate children with diverse abilities.
- 150 teachers selected to undergo a three-phase training on a unified curriculum in basic IE.
- 20 Ministry of Education (MOE) staff from Berbera and Erigavo received awareness on the importance of, and strategies of promoting and supporting IE, thereby enhancing the capacity to manage, deliver and supervise SNE.
- 30 Education administrators received awareness on the importance of IE, resource management, teaching and learning, constructive interaction of children with and those without disabilities.
- 75 Community Education Committees (CECs) sensitized on the importance of IE and school management. These CECs play a role of encouraging parents of CWDs and ensuring school structures are supportive of inclusiveness.
- 6 schools had their structures (including classrooms and toilets) modified to ensure an accommodating environment for children with diverse abilities, encouraging enrolment of children who have faced barriers before.