Inclusive Education in New Zealand

New Zealand has two proofs that it cares for the persons with disabilities in the country: the Blind and Low Vision Education Network NZ and the St Theresa’s School.

BLENNZ is a Ministry of Education-funded national school that provides educational programs and specialist support services to children and young people who are blind, deaf-blind, or with visual acuity of 6/18 or less. It offers unique immersion courses from its Homai campus in Manurewa to those aged 0 to 21 from all over New Zealand.

Each course targets particular skills and group together students according to age, skill need or eye condition. The specialist teachers referred to as the resource teachers: vision (RTVs) are the ones who assess a child’s needs then team him or her up with the other staff to provide the best support possible.

St Theresa’s School, on the other hand, integrates deaf education and culture into its institution. It also hosts sign language classes once a week (every Monday).

Also known as Aotearoa, New Zealand has begun showing concern for its PWDs in 1877. It has introduced then a centrally funded system of regionally controlled schools for all children from 5-15 years old. Then in 1993, it signed in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and has aimed to achieve a world-class inclusive education over the following decade. This was congealed in the New Zealand Disability Strategy in 2001 comprising of 15 objectives­, one of which is about providing the best education for disabled people.”

It was also required by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to promote access, inclusion, empowerment, equality, and the right to education upon its ramification to the agreement in 2008. Disability has nothing to do with the impairments persons with disabilities in New Zealand have, anyway. It is more of the process that happens when the “normal” ones design the world only for their way of living. (Ministry of Health, 2001).

Through the New Zealand Education Act, children with disabilities in the country have been entitled to free enrolment and free education at any state school from five to 19 years old (Education Act, 1989, section 3). They have the same rights to enroll and receive education at state schools as any other child in New Zealand (section 8).

The New Zealand Ministry of Education has also developed the website Inclusive Education: Guides for Schools to support the government’s vision of all schools demonstrating inclusive practices by 2014. It is actually one of the initiatives of Success for All that envisions a fully inclusive education system to result in confident educators; parents, families, whänau and communities.

The goal of educational inclusion is not to erase differences, but to enable all students to belong within an educational community that validates and values their individuality.” ~ Stainback, Stainback, East, and SapponShevin (1994)

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of vanAschTV

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Inclusive Education in Malaysia

In Malaysia, persons with disabilities have their own name: “orang kurang upaya.”

They enjoy regulations that define how inclusive education is implemented there such as the National Special Needs Education System of the Malaysian Education Act in 1996 and the Education Regulations in 2013.

The country has already laid out the Malaysia Education Blueprint (2013-2025) to move more students with special needs towards the Inclusive Education Programme (IEP) as well as raising the overall quality of provision. It even provided a guidebook prepared to direct its implementation.

Malaysia’s move towards inclusion was given impetus by its participation in the “The world conference on education for all” spearheaded by the UNESCO last 1990 in Jomtien, Thailand. Then, inclusive education was introduced through the Education Act 1996 as part of the continuum of services available for children with special needs.

As early as 1993, though, the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) has come to offer the pre-service teacher preparation program so that the students can have a Bachelor of Education degree in Special Needs Education. The University of Malaya has also offered a Master’s degree with the integration of disability-related content.

In 2008, the Malaysia’s Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Act was enacted and mandated that government-run and private education institutions are responsible for providing infrastructure, equipment and teaching materials, teaching methods, curricula and other forms of support to enable children with disabilities to pursue education.

To date, the Malaysian primary teachers have a concept of inclusive education as merely placing all children identified by the Ministry of Education with learning difficulties into mainstream classes, either part-time or Rill-time. The teachers were of the view that the structure of primary schools will need to change in order to support the Ministry’s plan, or else the plan itself should be modified.

 “We are Malaysians and nothing can differentiate us as long as we have the heart and hands to listen and express ourselves.” ~ Lovira Jospely

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Tedx Talks

Inclusive Education in South Africa

As soon as democracy was established in South Africa, the provision of education for learners with disabilities in the country has become a part of its development. Everyone has the right to “a basic education, including basic adult education; and to further education, which the state through reasonable measures must make progressively available and accessible,” and the state may not discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including disability (Section 29, Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act No. 108 of 1996).

So, in 2001, the Department of Education has come up with a framework that would address the diverse needs of all learners who experience barriers to learning. It asserted that in order to make inclusive education a reality, there must be a conceptual shift regarding the provision of support for learners who experience barriers to learning.

This framework—the Universal Design for Learning (UDL)—has been based in the fields of cognitive science and neuroscience that stipulates how we learn through memory, language processing, perception, problem solving, and thinking. At its heart is the design of goals, methods, materials, and assessments that make it accessible to all students, with disabilities or none.

It came out good; the European Union has come to support the initiative of this country three years after. It placed South Africa on its “best footing,” chief education specialist Marie Schoeman opined in the article “Working Towards Inclusive Education in South Africa.”

“In general there is cohesion between these projects,” she added. “They look at all learners who are experiencing barriers to learning, and improve their chances for through-put, which is a big concern in South Africa, where only a little more than half the learner population which starts in Grade R finishes school because of poverty, neglect and learning difficulties.”

Every child has come to be supplied then with numeracy and literacy workbooks from day one in Grade R to the end of compulsory education in Grade 91. The books were printed on sustainable papers with toxin-free ink and available in all eleven of South Africa’s official languages—including braille and large print—for the price of less than a croissant each.

There has also been “full-service schools2,” one of which is the Isiziba Primary School located in Gauteng’s Ekhuruleni North District. Nonprofit organization Inclusive Education South Africa continues to support and promote positive models of schools and learning centers there.

The remaining problem is teacher necessity, which South Africa solved through its “Teaching and Learning Development (TLD) Sector Reform Program.” It developed a teacher education system in 2015 to assist early childhood development educators, primary school teachers, special needs teachers, technical and vocational education and training lecturers, community education and training lecturers, and the professional development of university academics.

The education system will play a greater role in building an inclusive society, providing equal opportunities and helping all South Africans to realise their full potential, in particular those previously disadvantaged by apartheid policies, namely black people, women and people with disabilities.” ~ South African government’s 2009 National Development Plan

 

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of World of Inclusion

1This was carried out by printing companies Lebone Litho and Paarl Media, and delivery firm UTI, in 2012. This action resulted in 3,600 permanent jobs and 5,000 temporary ones.

2Full-service schools are those that welcome children with different educational needs.

Inclusive Education in Bhutan

Bhutan has two policies ruling children with disabilities and special needs in the country: the Standards for Inclusive Education and the National Education Policy. Everyone with physical, mental and other types of impairment will be able to access and benefit from education alongside others.

In 2015, the small Himalayan country best known for its unique principle of Gross National Happiness has transitioned its educational system from being monastic to a public institution in the 1960s. It has devoted about seven percent of its gross domestic product to education, to enable free education up to the tenth grade.

Seven years ago, there are over 3,300 children with immediate special learning needs in Bhutan (UNICEF, 2008). The Individual Education Plan (IEP), which was particularly framed to assist learning of those disabled and diverse educational needs children was also still not implemented. That changed when the UNDO and GNHC formulated the National Disability Policy of Bhutan last January 5, 2016. They based it on international standards such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. A day short to a year after—January 4, 2017—they finally endorsed the standards for inclusive education

Prior to that, in 2001, the Changangkha Lower Secondary School was established as an integrated school providing special needs education. The Drukgyel Lower Secondary School.also put up a Deaf Education Unit in 2003. Three more integrated schools were set up in Mongar, Samtse and Zhemgang by a division under the Department of School Education that started as a unit only in 2000.

Bhutan believes that “education has become the inalienable right of all Bhutanese,” therefore, in its developmental philosophy, persons with disabilities in the country have to “enjoy equal opportunities in all walks of life.” Even those with physical, mental and other types of impairment can access and benefit from education as well (Education Sector Strategy 2020). It has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), signed the Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the Millennium Development Goals, the Education for All -Dakar Framework for Action (1994), and the Proclamation of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) Commission on Disability on the Full Participation and Equality of People with Disabilities (2008).

Differently-abled people shouldn’t just be given charity, clothes, and food, and left alone. They should be made part of the society, part of the activities. They should be a contributing member of the society and not just recipients.” ~ Sanga Dorji

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Yellow Bhutan

Inclusive Education in Jordan

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has been recognized by the Global Monitoring Report on Education for All as the first in the Arab world in delivering education services in the Middle East. It is also the fourth in the world among countries with medium probability of achieving the goals of education for all.

Unfortunately, there are no accurate statistics showing the real number of persons with disabilities in Jordan. The Department of Statistics has counted only 1.23% PWDs in the community while the Higher Council for Affairs of Persons with Disabilities (HCD) has tallied 2%. There is also no specific law for PWDs in the educational provisions. The first law of education in Jordan was issued in 1964 but it was not until 2007 that the Rights of People with Disabilities Act No. 31 was issued. It has given the HCD the sole responsibility to provide the services for PWDs, and has defined the term “inclusion” for what it should be: as “measures, programs, plans, and policies aimed at achieving the full participation of disabled people in life without any form of discrimination and with equal with others.”

Furthermore, inclusive education in Jordan has been likened to the concept of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: as “the right of persons with disabilities to education with a view to realizing this right without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity.” It has adopted the American education policy of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in order to develop full-inclusion.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in Jordan has maintained that children with disabilities must be educated with children who are not disabled. Only if the educational alternatives cannot be achieved in the regular classroom can a PWD be isolated. The Confederation of Family Organizations in the European Union (COFACE) has also come to believe that “inclusion is not the same as integration. Whereas integration requires the child to adjust to an education system, inclusion must be about making the system adapt to each child.” The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has seen inclusive education as “a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all learners through increasing participation in learning, cultures and communities, and reducing exclusion within and from education.”

So, in Jordan, three independent institutions oversee educational services for its PWDs under the age of 18: the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Social Development, and the Higher Council for Affairs of Persons with Disabilities. For PWDs over the age of 18, the responsibility rests on the Ministry of Higher Education.

 “[Inclusive education] is the prerequisite for stability. If schools managed to accommodate all students, they will grow up to create non-discriminatory, peaceful and stable societies,” Kamal Jabr

Inclusive Education in Spain

Spain has given its citizens with disabilities a choice whether to enroll in a mainstream school. Otherwise, it has special education institutions for them.

Under Royal Decree 696/1995, pupils with special educational needs can study in mainstream schools with mainstream curricula. Only when it is objectively established that the needs of these pupils cannot be properly met in a mainstream school is a proposal made for them to be educated in special schools.

The 1990 Organic Act on the General Organisation of the Education System (LOGSE), on the other hand, has regulated and governed special education within the general plan of education. Special education has been incorporated into the mainstream system and also introduces the concept of special educational needs.

A decade and two years later, a new framework—the 2002 Organic Act on the Quality of Education (LOCE)—has been established to give attention to those pupils with “specific educational needs.” They can attend mainstream schools with specialized classrooms, or ordinary groups in special schools according to their abilities.

Coinciding with the European Year of People with Disabilities, the “Act on Equal Opportunities, Non-Discrimination and Universal Accessibility for People with Disabilities” was passed. It complemented the 1982 Act on the Social Integration of People with Disabilities (LISMI).

The Organic Act on Education (LOE, 2006) has called on the public authorities to “carry out compensatory measures.” The ultimate goal should be a school for all, and it has taken into account how respect for basic rights and liberties can be achieved.

Spain’s latest regulation on the matter, the LOMCE (2013), follows the guidelines set seven years ago, considering the four types of specific educational support needs: students with special educational needs, gifted learners, those late entrees into the Spanish education system, and those with specific learning difficulties.

Moreover, there would be specialized specific teams and early intervention teams to detect, assess, and diagnose special educational needs. They would have to counsel, collaborate, and participate in the educational process of pupils with special educational needs.

Pupils who must be absent from school for prolonged or repeated periods of time for medical reasons could benefit from the mobile school support units or the school support units in the hospitals. Mobile special education teachers could go to pupils’ homes and mobile attention on the part of special education centers could be given.

“A world that recognizes the rights of the disabled, ensures that people with disabilities can be productive members of their communities and nations, and provides an inclusive and accessible environment, is a world that will benefit all of us — with or without disabilities.” ~ UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Wolter’s World

Inclusive Education in Indonesia

Based on the direction letter of the Directorate General of Primary and Secondary Education No 380/C.66/MN/2003, inclusive education in Indonesia has begun in January 20, 2003. Every district has to have at least four inclusive schools, comprising of a primary, a secondary, general high and vocational higher type.

Every district must have at least one inclusive high school, too, according to the Decree of the Minister of Education No. 70-2009. Every sub district must have at least one primary and one secondary inclusive school, and would have up to 50 million rupiahs each.

Indonesia was motivated to implement inclusive education after the publication of “The Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities” by the United Nations in 1993 and convention on the World Conference on Special Needs Education, Access and Quality” held in Salamanca in 1994. Its regions that have conducted inclusive education in their regular schools are the Yogyakarta Province (12 schools) and the DKI Jakarta Province (35 schools).

The “process” towards inclusive education in Indonesia, though, started in the early 1960s. A couple of blind students in Bandung were disillusioned that educational service was only provided up to the junior high school level, after which vocational training on handicrafts or massage only were given.

In the late 1970’s, the Helen Keller International, Inc. helped Indonesia developed integrated primary schools in Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, and Surabaya. It resulted in the issuance of the Letter of Decision by the Minister of Education in 1986 encouraging children with disabilities to attend regular schools.

Towards the end of 1990’s, the Ministry of National Education and the Norwegian government develop inclusive education through a cooperation project. More and more universities have also introduced inclusive education as a subject or as topics in other related subjects, inspiring students to take aspects of inclusive education as topics in their research. The Pertuni (Indonesian Blind Union), ICEVI, Nippon Foundation, UNJ-Jakarta, UPI-Bandung, UIN-Yogyakarta, Unesa-Surabaya have all established support service centres for students with visual impairment.

Recently, 33% of children with disabilities in Indonesia live in families earning less than $2  a day. With the Inclusive Community Development and School for All (IDEAL) program and the Save the Children-IKEA Foundation, access to quality inclusive education in the country was increased, letting them attain their right to education and protection.

“A community that is convinced about inclusive education, believe that living and learning together is a better way of life, that is profitable for every one, because this type of education can accept and respond to every student’s individual need so that the school become a learning friendly environment for the students.” ~ Prof DR. Fawzia Aswin Hadis

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Plan Indonesia