The process includes supporting facilitators from within DPOs who can promote inclusive education among the DPO membership.
Selecting and supporting trainers
The DPO capacity-building initiative is building on EENET and NAD’s many years of experience with developing training programmes for teachers. Key features of that approach are being adapted and used within the DPO capacity building programme, such as:
- carefully selecting trainers;
- developing and adapting training modules and materials to suit the context, and taking a cumulative approach to learning;
- building action research into the training.
National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU) is an umbrella organisation. Inclusive education trainers have been carefully identified from within their District Unions. They are known as District Union Facilitators.
The District Union Facilitators are trained in each module. They are then supported to deliver the training to, and assist with action research projects among, members of the District Unions. Unlike many ‘cascade’ trainings, the District Union Facilitators have ongoing access to advice and support if needed. They are encouraged to actively reflect on the training materials and methods, and suggest improvements or adaptations.
A key difference from the teacher training programme is that the District Union Facilitators are not necessarily experienced trainers. In the teacher training programme, the ‘Principal Trainers’ are already teacher trainers, university/college staff, head teachers, district education officials, etc – they already have substantial experience of teaching and/or training. To help the District Union Facilitators learn core facilitation skills, there is an initial ‘Skills for inclusive facilitation’ training module, accompanied by a video. The video uses footage and photos from EENET and NAD training sessions in various countries and provides helpful hints and tips.
Developing training modules
There are three modules in the DPO training:
- Foundational – awareness of what inclusive education is;
- Working with school inclusion teams and networking;
- Identifying and supporting the inclusion of out-of-school children.
The training content is based on the modules used in the NAD/EENET teacher training programme, to ensure consistency. For example, the teacher training programme has a strong focus on developing school inclusion teams (SITs) through which parents, teachers, learners, community members, DPO representatives, etc, collaboratively identify and address inclusion challenges. The DPO training therefore has a module which matches this focus on SITs.
However, there has been substantial adaptation of the teacher training modules. This has been done to suit the different information needs and existing knowledge and skills of the District Union Facilitators and their trainees in the District Unions.
One important adaptation has been the increased use of images within the DPO training. A Ugandan illustrator has been commissioned to create a selection of images to illustrate key messages. These images not only make the training more accessible to District Union members who may not read well, but are also available for them to use later in their own advocacy work.
Each module builds on the learning from the previous module. This acknowledges that inclusive education is a complex process. Learning about it takes time and requires critical reflection, which cannot be achieved through just one isolated training workshop. This cumulative approach involves training workshops plus practical, hands-on activities through small action research projects…
The District Unions do not engage directly in advocacy during the training process. Following each training workshop they are encouraged and supported to engage in some action research activities, linked to the training. The action research activities build their skills and confidence as advocates. After the 3 stages of training and action research they should be in a strong position to design and implement local or even national advocacy campaigns around inclusive education.