Tag Archives: Taiwan

On PADS-Cebu

During the 9th Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Carnival held at Pier 10 of the Central Harbour in Hong Kong, the PADS Adaptive Dragon Boat Racing Team won in the 400-meter standard boat international paradragon division. It topped during the first heat of the race at 1:35 and during the second heat at 1:33.913.

The team bested 160 other teams consisting of 4,500 athletes from all over the world to rule the event for the second year in a row. The second place went to Hong Kong’s Golden Eagle while the third place went to Taiwan’s NAAC Top Brilliances Dragon Boat Team.

It wasn’t the first time the Philippine Accessibility Disability Services (PADS) brought victory to the country in dragon boat racing. The team, which was headed by JP Ecarma Maunes, is composed of 14 men and four women that are either blind, deaf, or amputees. In June 5, 2017, it already competed in the said carnival against teams from Hong Kong, United Kingdom, and Singapore. It won in the final round by seven seconds.

Like other organizations dedicated to PWDs, PADS aims to “enable the PWD community to grow and develop as independent, integrated, fully human and empowered citizens in society” through promoting social inclusion and human rights of PWDs. It has succeeded to (1) increase the participation of the PWD in Filipino electoral and governance processes, (2) educate communities on PWD human rights, and (3) develop opportunities to promote Filipino Sign Language 12 years after it has started.

“We dedicate this victory to the plight of thousands of Filipinos with disabilities. We also want to dedicate this triumph to the Filipinos in Hong Kong who took care of the needs of the team, took a stand to leave their day jobs, and cheered side by side with the team. May this win uplift their hearts and national pride.” ~ PADS

Notes:

  1. The 9th Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Carnival happened last June 22 to 24. It was organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Hong Kong China Dragon Boat Association.
  2. The other teams include those from Australia, Canada, France, Israel, Japan, Korea, Macau and Hong Kong, Mainland China, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Philippines, and the United States.

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of MyTV Cebu

UPDATE (August 26, 2018): The Cebu-based Philippine Accessible Disability Services (Pads) Adaptive Dragonboat Racing Team have been recommended by the City Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission to be this year’s recipient of the Modern Day Hero Award.

Turning Four!

Not everyone is still willing to give persons with disabilities a chance four years after The PWD Forum came about.

In Indonesia for instance, disability is still regarded as a punishment from God. PWDs must be exorcised, tied up at the back of the house (dipasung), confined to a small hut in the backyard, or tied at the wrists and ankles to a tree or heavy log. Disability is also seen as a matter of fate so there is little empathy for PWDs for whom ‘nothing can be done’.

As such, PWDs are excluded from most governments’ planning and support. In Bhutan in particular, its educational policy lack inclusive policy guidelines resulting in unequal opportunities.  Taiwan, on the other hand, has only programs for PWDs with “mild” conditions and the curricula just followed what is being taught in preschool classes.

In South Africa, teachers lack skills and knowledge. In South Korea, teachers know no culturally relevant curricula. In Malaysia, teachers are unprepared in terms of emotional acceptance and technical skills.

It is no wonder then that PWDs are still berated when seeking employment or at work; employers would definitely incur costs from hiring PWDs. Educating them alongside non-PWDs  would not be an easy feat especially that the term ‘inclusion’ itself has no fixed definition even in the western countries from which this concept was realized.

There are also parents who do not understand the meaning of inclusive education till now. Thus, the parents are still anxious with their children attending mainstream schools. Even governments are not sure what the concept really means and how it could be relevant within the local context.

If PWDs and non-PWDs study together, though, there would be no need to build exclusive educational institutions. Adjustment may also come naturally. Maricel Apatan had not been a burden anyway when she was studying a two-year course in Hotel and Restaurant Management in Cagayan de Oro City. She was even hired as a pastry chef at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Manila.

A polio victim, Marc Joseph Escora, had managed his training at the Negros Occidental Language and Information Technology Center (NOLITC) in Bacolod City. Blind, Safiya Mundus had graduated from the Eusebio C. Santos Elementary School.

The PWD Forum could just imagine what else could have happened had Arnel Navales Aba, Godfrey Esperanzate Taberna, Emilia Malinowska, Jose Feliciano, and Mohamed Dalo finish school. Townsely Roberts had at The College of the Bahamas with an associate degree in Accounting and Computer Data Processing in 1995. Gary Russell had, too, at the same college with an associate degree in Law and Criminal Justice then at the University of Buckingham for his bachelor’s and master’s.

It was from his blind father that former interior and local government secretary Jesse Robredo learned discipline. Protecting the integrity and honor of one’s family is of highest importance, his father had said, and children are expected to contribute their share in doing that. So Jesse launched the “Fully Abled Nation,” a program seeking to increase the participation of PWDs in the coming 2013 Philippine midterm elections, roughly three months before he died in a plane crash.

“Hopefully, one day, the notion behind “persons with disability” be somehow erased from the world’s vocabulary and usher-in a day when technology, private & public organizations, and the law work together to give each person equal rights and opportunities, regardless of the person’s impediment.” ~ Atty. Mike Gerald C. David

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Jozelle Tech

Inclusive Education in Taiwan

Taiwan has started moving toward inclusion just last 2014. It conducts regular classes with special education services (inclusive) and resource room programs (integrative) nowadays.

Right after the inclusive education policy has been detailed, Taiwan has made adjustments “that can hinder or exclude students with special educational needs (SEN) with respect to areas such as physical facilities and pedagogic adaptation.”

Taiwan has already set out a comprehensive legal framework for the education of students with SEN. It has emphasized the elimination of discrimination, early identification/intervention, appropriate education for students—termed individual education plan (IEP)—with SEN, qualifications of special education teachers, and funding arrangements for special education.

The Special Education Act in Taiwan was enacted in 1984, amended in 2009, and mandated “zero rejection, inclusive education, and flexibility in curriculum and assessment.” Last 2013, the Annual Report of Special Education Statistics reported that 93.73% of the students with SEN received their special education services in general education schools while the others—the remaining 6.27%—got theirs in special schools ranging from primary to high school levels.

The IEPs must be tailored to each student with SEN. The plan must include information about the student concerned as well as the educational program designed. Students with special needs either have intellectual disabilities, visual impairments, hearing impairments, communication disorders, physical impairments, cerebral palsy, health impairments, severe emotional disorders, learning disabilities, severe/multiple impairments, autism, and developmental delays, among others.

Schools should set up a designated unit to take charge of special education so that students with SEN in Taiwan can enroll in any school nearest to them. They would be assessed by the Committee for Assessment, Placement and Counselling of Students in Special Education (特殊教育學生鑑定 及就學輔導會) in their district. Schools should also provide the students with SEN with educational auxiliary devices, appropriate teaching materials, assistance in learning and living, rehabilitation services, family support services, access to campus, and other support services.

IEP in schools below senior high level would be evaluated by the local authorities in Taiwan at least once every three years, while the Ministry of Education would recheck the local authorities. Each year, Taiwan shall allocate not less than 4.5% of its budgeted expenditure on education to special education while its local governments shall set aside no less than 5% of their education budgets for special education.

In the study “The Implementation of Individualized Education Program (IEP) in an inclusive class, Taiwan, its authors* has found out two things: (1) seat and curriculum adjustment are the key strategies to improve the inclusion for young children with disabilities, and (2) lack of personnel in an inclusive class is the main problem for implementing the functional and inclusive IEP objectives.

The success of Taiwan’s IEP will depend on the ability of the students with SEN to attain its outcomes or goals. It will also require the intensive cooperation between the members of a team in academics and practice.

To date, Taiwan is just working on its teachers’ confidence and capability, curriculum adaptation, peer acceptance, and supporting resources on inclusive education. It is also dealing with the “disruptive behaviors” of its students with disabilities that its schools deemed to be the “toughest challenge.”

“Some people automatically assume blind people are of lower cognitive abilities because of our lack of sight but the truth is that we can do anything despite our limited options. It’s all about the minds.” ~ Lai Jun-hong

*Authors: Tsuey-ling Lee (National Hsinchu University of Education), Mei-ching Chung (National Hsinchu University of Education), I-chun Chiu (Hsinchu Municipal Xi-Men Primary School), Chang-Chun Chiu (Hsinchu Municipal Xi-Men Primary School), Shih-chi Lin (Hsinchu Municipal Xi-Men Primary School)

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of FocusTaiwan