Inclusive classrooms will not work in isolation . . .
Strong links with community-based development and consumer organisations are essential to the success of IE. Education is, after all, much broader than schooling. Here we look briefly at some ways in which participants at the Agra seminar have developed community-based approaches to inclusive education in Vietnam, Swaziland and The Philippines. IE programmes, represented in Agra, in countries as far apart as Ghana, Papua New Guinea and India are also working closely with communities to promote inclusion.
Focusing on Community Support for Inclusive Education…..
Vietnam – the introduction of inclusive education in conjunction with CBR
Following the introduction of CBR through the Ministry of Health in 1987, the National Institute of Education and Science (NIES), based in Ha Noi, developed an educational component in 1991 linked to the CBR programme, with support from Radda Barnen. Prior to this, there were many children with mild special educational needs attending mainstream schools, but they tended to drop out due to ‘lack of attention’. Although the CBR workers were very proficient in identification and rehabilitation activities, they needed the added support and expertise of teacher trainers to prepare the schools for inclusion.
The coordination of services between health and education has not been easy. Ideas and attitudes towards rehabilitation differ enormously between the two groups. However CBR workers have worked together with primary school teachers to make low cost rehabilitation aids and to conduct joint surveys to identify which children were ready to start school. Home learning is promoted in the family setting when it is not possible for a child to attend their local school. Age and degree of disability are not considered barriers to learning in the community context. With a population of 75 million, the task of introducing inclusive education is clearly enormous, and effective coordination between CBR workers and teachers essential.
Contact person: Mr Trinh Duc Duy, NIES, 101 Tran Hung Dao Street, Ha Noi, Vietnam Tel: +84 4 825 2938
‘Towards Inclusion – the experience of Vietnam’ provides an account of this programme and is available from Radda Barnen (Swedish Save the Children) . 107 88 Stockholm . Sweden . Tel: +46 8 698 90 00 . Fax: +46 8 698 90 12
Swaziland: the promotion of inclusion through the Child-to-Child approach and CBR.
Child-to-Child methodology is used as part of the Ministry of Health’s CBR programme in Swaziland to empower and educate children about disability issues. The overall aim of the approach is to encourage children to become more responsible for their own health and that of their communities. It is a very effective strategy to reach all the children in a given community, both in and out of school. It is based on the principle that children learn better from each other and that they can have a major influence on the attitudes and practices of adults.
CBR workers in Swaziland work closely with primary school teachers in the schools where disabled children have been integrated. Children are encouraged to compose songs and perform plays which raise school and community awareness of issues such as safety on the roads and in the home, HIV and AIDS, and disability. Children and community members have been actively involved in building simple ramps for wheelchair access to classrooms, making toilets accessible and designing playground equipment suitable for children with physical disabilities. Children have become involved in educating communities about the need for inclusion by challenging existing negative attitudes towards disabled people.
Contact person: Ms Sindi Dube . c/o SCF, PO Box 472 . Mbabane . Swaziland . Tel: +268 42573 . Fax: +268 44719
For more information contact: Child to Child Programme . Institute of Education . 20 Bedford Way . London WC1H OAL . Tel: +44 171 612 6648 . Fax: +44 171 612 6645
Philippines – the introduction of a basic education initiative enables Manobo children to be included in mainstream schools.
The Manobo are a minority mountain community of 300,000 people struggling for their survival. They have been forced off their ancestral lands and are living in extreme poverty. They are reluctant to integrate with the settler communities and their children tend therefore to be excluded from educational opportunities. The Self-Help Education Programme Appropriate for Cultural Communities (SHEPACC), supported by Handicap International through Action Nord-Sud, provides basic and functional education for Manobo children. Community learning centres are run by para-teachers, who are identified by the community and receive community-based and culturally appropriate training. Approximately 10% of the children enrolled in the programme have so far been successfully included in mainstream schools.
Contact person: Ms Evelina Tabares . 2 Venus Corner . Chavez Street Macasandig . Cagayan de Oro .The Philippines . Tel: +63 88 22 724 324 . Fax: +63 88 22 722 308
“Where expertise is rare and specialists are few, it makes sense to utilise the limited expertise for both inclusive education and CBR training programmes.” Graham Leach – Papua New Guinea