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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

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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

Inclusive Education in South Korea

Equal opportunity for the education of every Korean—with disabilities or none—has been assured in the Article 4 of the Framework Act on Education of the country’s constitution.

Under the Korean Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development are divisions responsible for supporting different children groups: the Special Education Policy Division, which is in charge of the inclusion of children with disabilities and children with learning difficulties; the Educational Welfare Policy Division, which oversees matters related to children from low income families, children from North Korean refugee families and children from multi-cultural families; and the Elementary and Secondary Education Policy Division, which devises and implements policies to support children that have low academic achievement levels.

The ministry has also launched a Five-year Education Welfare Plan for Students with Disabilities in 1994. Then four years after, it provided free education to children from low income families aged five, and free computers to the economically underprivileged. The ministry has also supported adolescents who have not been able to continue studies in 2003.

Inclusive education in South Korea was first stipulated in the Special Education Promotion Law in 1978. Under that law, the ministry has to develop instructional material for students and teachers, provide in-service teacher training programs on curricular revision, and support the placement of teacher aides. Education for all students with disabilities should be free and both elementary and middle courses should be compulsory. Only in 2007 was it renamed into the Special Education Law for the Disabled and those with Special Needs to broaden its scope of free and compulsory education from kindergarten through high school as well as free lifelong education programs for adults with disability.

As such, schools in South Korea have to serve all students, regardless of differences among them. Its goal is to maximize the potential of each and every student so there should be no stigmatization attached to any of the children.

“The inclusive class is not difficult in the preschool stage as the learning level is elementary. Starting from middle school, however, nondisabled students prepare for the college entrance exam under the grade-oriented education system… Unless the whole education system that focuses on exams and grades is changed, there is no way for the disabled to be part of the class. The ultimate goal of inclusive education is to embrace and respect the diversity of students, ranging from race, gender to disability.” ~ Kim Chi-hun

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the Arirang News

Inclusive Education in Norway

Even before 92 governments and 25 international organizations met in Salamanca, Spain to talk about inclusive education, Norway has already thought of integrating every student into the ordinary school system.

Norway believes in integrating students—with disabilities or none—in ordinary education. In the Norwegian framework presented by Peder Haug, a professor of pedagogy in Høgskolen i Volda and research director in the Research Council of Norway, an inclusive educational environment has been defined to focus on the increasing fellowship among students so that everyone can participate as part of a process of democratization.

Inclusion is the goal of the educational policy of the Norwegian legislation. All learners must have access to kindergartens and common schools of high quality regardless of their background or abilities, and educational institutions must consider and accommodate each individual’s abilities and capacities.

Its Ministry of Education and Research has also observed in 2010-2011 that when learners with special needs are studying amongst other learners, their classmates have learned to approve of all learners the way they are.

Norway aims to change the educational environment—not the learner—through inclusion in schools. In its Education Act, learners in the primary and secondary school have the right to go in their local school. They have the right to receive adapted education, which would require teachers to have skills that can adapt to different kinds of learners. Only if a school can prove that it cannot act on the necessary measures for a certain learner can he or she transfer.

Would-be teachers, on the other hand, are trained at the Institute of Education. They can study a course in special needs education, which includes a module on inclusive education. The “adapted teaching” module consists of managing diversity, adapted teaching, and learning in primary school (1–7) and the professional teacher and diversity in schools (5–10).

At the University of Troms, teacher education is divided into years 1–7 (primary education) and 5–10 (secondary education), focusing on inclusive, participatory, and multicultural education. It has launched “Pro-Ted,” a project with the main purpose of developing a research-based, comprehensive teacher education Bby carrying out systematic experiments and acting as a base for research-based, intensive collaboration.

Norway still persists to promote inclusivity in its schools with high quality special education to this day. The 1990 World Conference on Education for All had called on countries to develop inclusive schools alongside specialist support services and it vowed to do its part.

“Children and young people must have an equal right to education, regardless of where they live, gender, social and cultural background, or any special needs.” ~Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research 

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of kbyram2

Inclusive Education in Turkey

The current statistical trends and developments within inclusive education in Turkey are not well known. The schooling rate of students with special needs should be improved, as well as the quality and variety of special education services within inclusive education.

The concept of inclusive education is identified by the Ministry of Education (MONE) Special Education Regulations itself. It believes that inclusive education should be provided to every individual—with special education needs (SEN) or none—at pre-school, primary education, secondary education and adult education level.

Early childhood education is for individuals aged between 0-36 months; a mother will be monitored at the start of their pregnancy until her baby will be six years old. If a problem is detected, the child will be directed at once to the associated institutions such as hospitals, guidance and research centers.

On the other hand, pre-school education is for individuals aged between 37-66 months. It could be extended to 78 months depending on the report of the Special Education Assessment Committee and the written consent of the parents.

The goal for these special education services is to enable every Turkish child continue their education in mainstream schools1. They would be assessed and diagnosed by the Board of Special Education Evaluation Committee, and if the individual with SEN is unable to achieve the general goal, he or she would stay in the special need school.

Turkey also enables its citizens who wish to teach special education do so. Some of its universities have departments for teaching on visual impairment, hearing impairment, giftedness, mentally retardation, and a general special needs education. The following components are also included: Fundamentals of inclusive education (definition of inclusive education, key concepts, and the history of the inclusive education movement); Overview of children with SEN; How to create an Individual Education Plan; How to design and adapt activities for children with SEN; and How to assess learning outcomes of children with SEN.

Problems in implementing special education still remain, though. Physical conditions of other schools are not suitable for the disabled individuals. The school staff, pupils and parents have negative attitude towards individuals with SEN. There is no standard school model. There is also no support from the families, and there is no special training support for the teachers implementing inclusive education.

In the study Developing Inclusive Education Policies and Practices in Turkey: A Study of the Roles of UNESCO and Local Educators (November 2010, Arizona State University) by Aysegul Ciyer, the diverse Turkish culture(s) has been acknowledged. “Although Turkey has made considerable strides toward making inclusive education a possibility, there is much work to be done. The many cultural facets of Turkish culture(s) in addition to personal choice among various demographic profiles and how this affects education—aside from inclusion issues, which remains a very contentious topic—have been given very little attention.”

It’s just fortunate that, last July 12, a 19-year-old aspiring musician with autism has been given educational support. Yunus Yazar was unable to talk until he was three years old, but he started writing and reading at age 4. He had Asperger’s syndrome yet he has such an extraordinary musical talent so Turkish actor/comedian Cem Yilmaz would help him through his studies at the Istanbul University.

“Inclusive education is a special education practice based on the principle that the education of individuals with special education needs (SEN) continues their education with their peers without disability in the official and private schools at pre-school, primary education, secondary education and adult education level by providing them educational support services.” ~ Turkish Ministry of Education

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the WISE Channel

1In inclusive classrooms, a maximum of two pupils with SEN may be placed.

Inclusive Education in Thailand

Access to state education has been guaranteed for all students through the National Educational Act in Thailand in March 16, 1999.

And, since then, the number of students with disabilities accessing education increased from 145,000 to 187,000.

Thailand has also passed the Education Provision for People with Disabilities Act in 2008 that mandates inclusive education.

Cultural barriers and resistance from some head teachers in Thailand remain to be a challenge there, though. For one, the Thais believe in reincarnation. So disability is widely viewed as a person’s failure to lead positive previous lives (this eventually leads some families to feel shame about having a child with disabilities.)

Thailand has only one language decreed to be the country’s only official language and the language of instruction in public schools: standard Thai. With only a minimum of 2,000 baht (approximately £41) to cover the required resources or training expenses of every student, state schools also have “woefully insufficient resources” to implement inclusive education properly.

In her dissertation paper “A Model for Inclusive Schools in Thailand,” Sermsap Vorapanya found out that the idea of inclusive education in Thailand is still in early development. So she suggested providing more training to school professionals through an ongoing process as well as to medical personnel who are involved in the assessment and critical certification processes.

Resource centers should be equipped with materials that support the learning of the students also. Training and intervention agencies should be established in each community because, if not, private parties should deliver services.

Parents need to acquire knowledge and information, too. They themselves should be active to cope with the difficulties of raising children with disabilities.

“…while more steps need to be taken as implementation of inclusion continues, the principals, teachers, parents, education experts, and the people of Thailand have the commitment and strength of determination to make inclusion an integrated part of Thai education and to provide leadership on inclusion to the world.” ~Sermsap Vorapanya

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of TheVJMovement