Tag Archives: UNESCO

Filipino PWDs in ICT

Amidst insufficient training and funding, four persons with disabilities in the Philippines bagged several medals during the Global IT Challenge (GITC) for Youth with Disabilities on this day last year.

They were Janna Nadine Tan from the Miriam College Southeast Asian Institute for the Deaf; Adrion Peter Palacpac from Gen. Pio del Pilar National High School; Nathaniel Edward Quing Dimalanta from the Philippine School for the Deaf; and Mark Christian Dipatuan Evangelista from the Philippine National School for the Blind.

They were tested then on how to utilize information and communications teachnology–particularly the Internet Explorer, MS Office, and Scratch Programs–in solving problems.

Tan was awarded a gold medal then, a Certificate of Achievement and a cash award in the e-Tool challenge; and a silver medal, a Certificate of Achievement and a cash award in the e-Life challenge under the Hearing Category.

Adrion Peter Palacpac, on the other hand, was awarded a gold medal, a Certificate of Achievement, and a cash award in the e-Life challenge; and a silver medal, a Certificate of Achievement and a cash award in the e-Tool challenge under the developmental/learning disability category. He was also conferred–for the first time in the history of the IT Global Challenge event–the IT Global Leader/MVP for the year 2017.

The 2017 GITC for Youth with Disabilities was held at the Grand Plaza Hanoi Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam and participated in by 16 other countries broken into 25 teams.

It seeks to set the ICT agenda for participating countries to boost international cooperation and exchange for accessibility in addition to providing leverage information and social participation.

“Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have the potential for making significant improvements in the lives of persons with disabilities, allowing them to enhance their social, cultural, political and economic integration in communities by enlarging the scope of activities available to them.” ~UNESCO

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of AccessForAlleu

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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 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

Turning One!

Preposterous it will sound if The PWD Forum would claim a hand on how the welfare of persons with disabilities (PWDs) throughout the world has improved in the last 12 months.

In my home country, various sectors have realized that the disaster risk reduction and management programs currently in place there should be more responsive.

The PWD Forum has written about how necessary these kinds of plans are in the Philippines since the country is almost always plagued by typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and tsunamis last July 14, 2014. It has 726 readers there.

In the place where I am now, a team has been sent to the United Nations to organize a series of events concerning PWDs and highlight the country’s policies.

The PWD Forum has reported how the United Arab Emirates provides an environment conducive for PWDs like Feras and Wael Al Moubayed last October 28, 2014 as well as Kaltham Obaid Bakheet last April 28, 2015. It has 212 viewers there.

Elsewhere, some corporations have called for “an inclusive society” together with the PWDs. Some educational institutions have taught job skills to them, and some politicians have taken it upon themselves to provide assistive devices.

The PWD Forum has been seen in 43 other countries. Among these are the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, India, Lebanon, Germany, Australia, Japan, Jamaica, Belgium, Singapore, Switzerland, Pakistan, member states of the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Hong Kong, France, Taiwan, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Africa, Jordan, Bhutan, Spain, Indonesia, South Korea, Norway, Portugal, Qatar, Turkey, Thailand, Kenya, Bahamas, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Israel, Puerto Rico, Serbia, Austria, Poland, Vietnam, and Moldova.

Early on, The PWD Forum has wanted special education for all. But after sometime, it began to wonder if what it is advocating for is plausible especially in the third-world countries where PWDs are plenty. It has then thought to compromise: just another kind of special education for non-PWDs if they couldn’t be put together with the PWDs!

But Ashish Goyal didn’t learn numbers in a specialized school. Apolinario Mabini was able to study in two prestigious universities in the Philippines and had even set up a private school on his own. The mother of Tatyana McFadden had still enrolled her daughter in various sports activities even though Tatyana was born with spina bifida.

Special education must really be imparted to everyone then. Even the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has thought so. Disability rates are significantly higher among groups with lower educational attainment among its members, which include 14 countries.

Moreover, the United Nations Development Program found out that 80% of the PWDs in the world live in developing countries. People also spend 8 years of their life span living with disabilities. The aim of The PWD Forum from the start should still hold after all.

 “The PWD Forum aims to increase the awareness of the ‘normal’ people—particularly those in governments—to the true situation of people with disabilities (PWDs). It would just be a plus if there would be PWDs and non-PWDs alike who would join the discussions and/or initiate the conversations themselves.”

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Perkins Vision

Reflections from the UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2014

If complications in pregnancy and childbirth can lead to disability, then special education in all school levels is really a must.

Complications related to pregnancy and childbirth have killed almost 10 million women since 1990, said Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director, in a report. It is the highest lifetime risk for maternal death in Niger, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Chad, Angola, Liberia, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea-Bissau, and Mali.

But special education should be more than teaching people with disabilities (PWDs). It should be more than designating special schools, special classrooms, and tsukyu (resource rooms) in Japan. It should be more than providing “accommodations” for those PWDs who would be taking national exams in Singapore. It should also be more than exempting students with hearing impairments in Finland from taking listening comprehension tests.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Benjamin Franklin had said. Since complications in pregnancy and childbirth are a factor to disability, lessons about it should be discussed in all kinds of schools!

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ~Nelson Mandela

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Sean Smith