EENET encourages and supports the development of other information sharing networks around the world focusing on inclusive education. We have created a section on EENET’s website giving information about national/regional networks. If you are already involved in information sharing work, or if you feel that your organisation already has the basic capacity needed to start networking on inclusive education issues, then we would like to hear from you. EENET may be able to offer you advice on information sharing/networking, and may be able to provide basic core documents and materials which would assist you in the development of your network. But please note, EENET is not a funding agency, so we cannot support your network financially.
EENET-inspired networks exist in: Latin America (Brazil) and West Africa (Nigeria), and there are groups of keen individuals trying to start informal networking in Kenya, Vietnam, South Asia and the Caribbean. If you would like to become involved in these networks, please contact EENET.
Ed Todos, the Brazil-based inclusive education network, has launched its own Portuguese-language website, offering a wide range of information, links and discussion forums. See www.edtodos.org.br or email email@example.com for more information about Ed Todos.
EENET strives to offer inclusive education documents in other languages. For example, in partnership with Save the Children UK and Seti Centre in Egypt, we are able to provide Arabic translations and promote networking in Arabic-speaking countries. EENET is run on a very small budget, however, so we cannot afford to pay for translations. We are dependent on our readers and colleagues in other organisations to help us with translations. If you or your organisation are able to help EENET translate this newsletter (or previous newsletters or website articles) into another language, then we want to hear from you! If you have already translated previous newsletters, let us know – we may be able to make your translation available to hundreds more readers in your country or region.
The Right of Children with Disabilities to Education, Somaliland
The embryonic republic of Somaliland has been trying to overcome the difficulties left by twelve years of civil war, which led to the destruction of all educational institutions. However, in the last eight years public and privately owned schools were opened in almost all the regions, but children with disabilities have no room in these mainstream schools, owing to untrained teachers, unfavourable attitudes, inadequate awareness and, above all, the lack of an educational policy that takes the rights of children with disabilities into consideration.
Therefore, Disability Action Network (DAN), whose overall goal is to promote the well-being of people with disabilities, started to work closely with the Ministry of Education MoE) in order to create an educational environment that is receptive and conducive to disabled children. DAN has invited headmasters and primary school teachers from twelve schools in the capital, parents of children with disabilities, and officials from the MoE to workshops which focused on:
- understanding disabilities (types of disabilities)
- experiences with children with disabilities
- obstacles to integrating children with disabilities into mainstream schools (social and environmental barriers)
- introduction of integrated/inclusive education
- regional and international legal instruments regarding the right of disabled children to education.
Since 1997, DAN has been engaged in awareness-raising campaigns about the rights of children with disabilities, including the right to education, through the mass media, publishing pamphlets and organising events on the Day of the African Child, and the International Day for Disabled Persons. Although much has been altered in the practice and behaviour towards children with disabilities at the mainstream schools, the work done by DAN can only be regarded as a starting point. There is still an acute need for: the disability components to be included in the national education system; affirmative action on the rights of children with disabilities to education; and the enactment of anti discriminatory laws.
Jama Mohamed Askar and Abdikarim Mohamoud Sh. Muse of DAN are based in Hargeisa, Somaliland, and can be emailed by at: firstname.lastname@example.org