Inclusive education, which Catholic Development Commission (Cadecom), initiated in Phalombe District as an academic programme aimed at integrating children with disabilities into public schools rather than getting them into their special institutions, is taking deep root that saw positive high of enrollment.
Phalombe has a high rate of people with disabilities that prompted Cadecom, one of the Catholic Church’s development arm in Malawi, to intervene after discovering that such children are discriminated against in terms of being enrolled in school’s.
So far, 21 schools in the districts in which two or three teachers from each is selected for special training at each enrollment every year since 2011 to be taught in sign language, others teaching vision impared kids and others with skills in teaching slow learners.
“Inclusive education involves changes and modifications in content, approach, structure, teaching strategies, modified curriculum as well as school culture and attitudes,” said Cadecom’s project officer, Sailes Phiri Sailes during a visit to Migowi at Mambala Primary School on Friday to oversee the graduation of 30 participants from various schools.
“It is based on the notion that schools should without question, provide for the needs of all the children, whatever the levels of their abilities and disabilities by providing support that enhance participation and achievement.
“It means closing doors of exclusion and discrimination and accepting diversity and supporting one another. Its benefits are that learners with disabilities feel belonging to society, increases friendship and interaction and prepares them for social co-existence.
“Learners without disabilities also benefit because they have rich access from the modified curriculum that is being created since they access a wide range of teaching styles and resources.
“And they appreciate realities of life, develop positive attitudes and promotes sensitivity, understanding and respect differences of peers,” he said.
The programme is being executed in partnership with South Africa-based Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA).
In her remarks, Cadecom Diocesan secretary Mandinda Zungu said during a certain project they were doing in Phalombe between 2011 and 2016, they noticed that parents lock away their kids with disabilities when they go out, which to them they deemed as segregation simply because of their state of being.
And also because schools there weren’t catering for these kids’ needs and to counter the problem, they decided to introduce the inclusive education project with emphasis that they should actively interactive with the able bodied ones in order for them to learn quickly.
“We went around the district to sensitise the parents that no child with disability should be denied his or her right to education. We are very proud that the parents responded to our call when we set up disability friendly facilities at various schools.”
She urged the specialized teachers to practise well what they have learnt in order not to leave any one behind in as far as attainment of human right is concerned.
The course was ably facilitated by two experts — sign language teacher Andrew Changwera and speech impaired specialist Chrissie Chitanda, both who were trained by Montfort’ Mary View School for the deaf.
Chitanda is a special needs teacher at Michesi Resource Centre in Migowi and her role is to inspect and assess the needs of the schools that have enrolled physically challenged kids in order to facilitate that each teacher in contact with such kids should undergo special training.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :