Inclusive education workshop


A Report on workshop among school representatives from Budhanilkantha Municipality 

Introduction:  CDCA and the workshop:

CDCA is a nonprofit making organization rehabilitating children having various forms of disability. Besides taking care of such children, it has also been conducting various social programs. Recently, it has accomplished a workshop event on inclusive education. The program was mainly a discussion and idea sharing event about inclusive education focusing on the ways to mainstream disabled children in regular education system.

Objectives of the workshop

The event was conducted to attain following objectives:

  1. Knowledge sharing about inclusive education and social inclusion
  2. Presenting a demonstration about how being a disabled feels like
  3. Importance of inclusive education in the context of Nepal
  4. Sharing ideas on how to mainstream the disabled children in Nepal’s regular education system
  5. Exchange probable problems or challenges the teachers or the school administrator would face while implementing the concept of inclusion in education
  6. Prepare a list of recommendations from participants’ perspectives to be addressed by local authority or government.

 

Date, duration and venue

The two days’ workshop dated on 3rd and 4th may,2018 was accomplished in  two different locations. The first day of the event was conducted in the hall of CDCA . The next day program continued in a meeting hall of a restaurant located in Akasedara Aaji Thakali, Kapan.

 

Participants details

The participants comprised of principals and teachers from both public and private schools of Budhanilkantha municipality. Although 25 schools were targeted to participate in the workshop, representatives from only 16 schools were present to conduct the workshop.  Besides schools, all the staffs of CDCA were also engaged as participants in the event. A brief details of the school representatives are listed in the table below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

   S.N.

 

Name of participants

 

 

Name of school

 

 

Type of school

 

Position

 

 

1)       

 

Ramesh Khadka

 

 

Nepal charter school

 

Public

 

Teacher

2)        Bishnu Kaji Shrestha

 

Naulin secondary school Public Principal
3)        Hari Shrestha

 

Prashanti academy Private Teacher
4)        Pravesh Basnet

 

Nava manjushree school Private Principal
5)        Dinesh kaji Thapa

 

Sharada academy Private Teacher
6)        Tara Parajuli

 

Janajagriti secondary school Public Vice-principal
7)        Bama Deva Bhatta

 

Bal uddhar secondary school Public Teacher
8)        Laxmi Timalsina

 

Bal kumari boarding school Public Principal
9)        Mukunda Budhathoki

 

Shree yagyamati school Public Teacher
10)    J.B. Adhikari

 

Joseph high school Private Principal
11)    Ganesh K. Mishra

 

Tri jyoti school Public Teacher
12)    Dr. Jayanti Rupakheti

 

Shree gramshikshya M.H.S. school Public

 

Teacher
13)    Nimto Sherpa

 

Samten memorial E.A Private Teacher
14)    Krishna Prasad Baral

 

Trinetra vidhya niketan Private Teacher
15)    Susmita Mainali

 

Pioneer public school Private Teacher
16)    Hare Ram Khatri

 

Jana uddhar secondary school

 

Private Teacher

 

The table above shows the description about the participants. There were 7 public schools and 9 private schools. Five of the participants of those schools hold the position of “principal” and the remaining were teaching staffs.

 

 

Program organizer

The program was  organized by Mr. Dendi Sherpa, Chairman of CDCA. He has envisioned the concept of implementing inclusive education in all the schools of Nepal starting from his own municipality. He dreams of a school that can adjust children with various kinds of disability and that they need not be admitted in special schools. He believes segregating children in special schools from the common one will inhibit their all-round social development. He thus, purports to advocate for making every schools disabled friendly in Nepal organizing  this workshop about inclusive education.

 

Assistants and supporters

The local government’s support in making the program a successful event is appreciable. The program was assisted by all the staff members of CDCA by efficiently managing the event both in CDCA hall and in the restaurant’s meeting room. The presentation content was prepared by Megan Goodwin from California, U.S. which was very relevant to the context of Nepal. She gave her presentation in her own mother tongue i.e. in English. For the convenience of participants, Saru Ghimire, a staff of CDCA helped in translating the presentation into Nepali. CDCA is indebted and much grateful towards Megan, as she gave her valuable time to conduct the workshop.

 

About disability and inclusive education

The constitution of Nepal defines disabled person as one who is mentally or physically unable to lead a normal life. The global disabled population is estimated to be 10%. In Nepal according to the official census data(2011), the prevalence of disability is 1.94%. Various kinds of disability in Nepal have been classified as follows:-

  • Physical
  • Visual
  • Hearing
  • Deaf-blind
  • Speech
  • Mental
  • Intellectual
  • Multiple disability

The rights of disabled are ensured by the constitution as well as by various acts and regulations. The regulation number 5 of “1982-disabled and welfare act of Nepal” has advocated the right to equality stating “There should not be any discrimination against the disabled with respect to their physical status.” The tenth second year plan (2002-2017) aimed to provide equal rights and a barrier free environment for the development of disabled.

One of the significant ways that can be done to promote equality among disabled or differently abled people is by endorsing the concept of Social Inclusion. One of the aspect of implementation is provision of inclusive education for disabled children. The first international understanding and commitment towards inclusive education was the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the child. 2006 UN Convention for the Rights of persons with disabilities endorsed that disabled persons are not to be excluded from the general education system on the basis of their disability.

In South-Asian countries, there is limited understanding and perspectives of Inclusive education. In Nepal, though the constitution(2015) has envisioned the concept, still it has not come into practice. Even, the NGOs in Nepal do not work directly towards inclusive teaching and learning activities. The reasons behind the lack of implementation of inclusivity in Nepal could be:

  • Inadequate physical infrastructures including disabled friendly environment
  • No culture of inclusivity in the schools
  • Lack of proper coordination among bodies that regulate the education system in Nepal
  • Teacher’s limited understanding on the concept despite their having received trainings
  • Negative attitude of the teachers and community towards disability
  • Lack of assistive devices and learning materials
  • Lack of proper teaching learning practice

Universalization of primary education can’t be achieved unless children with disability are provided with appropriate schooling opportunities. And inclusive education is the best way to enhance equality and overall development among the differently abled children. Hence, the prevalent challenges must be overcome in order to bring about inclusivity in education.

Simply placing children with and without disabilities together does not produce positive outcomes. Inclusivity is achieved when there is:-

  • Ongoing advocacy
  • Planning and efficient management
  • Support from all concerned bodies
  • Commitment from implementors

To sum up, the workshop conducted so far is a small attempt of advocacy to trigger the concept of inclusivity. The representatives from schools were particularly chosen as they are the ones at ground level responsible for the effective implementation of inclusivity in education system. Discussing the knowledge, experiences and problems  from their  perspectives is a suitable way to  analyses the root causes of the hindrances towards achieving inclusivity.

The participants need to study more articles and research papers to have a comprehensive knowledge on inclusive education because two days discussion and ideas sharing would not be sufficient to provide full details and understanding. The workshop is just an approach to sensitize and advocate on internationally concerned issues i.e. Inclusive education to mainstream the disabled or more preferably the differently abled children in general education system.

 

Participants commitment in upcoming days

The discussion aimed to dig out the problems perceived by school teachers to translate the ideals and values of inclusive education in classroom. Despite of the various external problems that could create hurdles in achieving the inclusivity, what they personally committed for making the concept attainable was laudable. Hence, after clearly understanding the concept, the commitment they made to promote inclusivity were:-

  1. Changing their attitude towards disability and respect the diversity
  2. Prepare their children for accepting disabled child as normal and accept them as their friend in the classroom
  3. Accepting the differently abled child to admit in their schools by convincing the parents
  4. Advocating to make their community aware in enhancing proper communication with differently abled children
  5. Bring necessary reforms as far as possible in the schools so to provide optimum environment for all the differently abled children

 

Recommendation to concerned authority

The school representatives were positive towards bringing inclusive education for disabled into practice. However, they have also provided few suggestions to the local agency so as to facilitate them in implementing the concept. Their recommendation to the local authority government:-

  1. Organizing community awareness program on various social issues from time to time
  2. Establishing disabled friendly schools, public transportation, library, playgrounds.
  3. Development of physical infrastructures to reform schools into disabled friendly
  4. Development of suitable curriculum for teaching-learning
  5. Technological innovation in construction of new buildings so to enable adequate mobility of disabled in classrooms and schools
  6. Minimize the dependence on international fund and thrive towards sustainability through national resource generation and their local mobilization
  7. Respect the diversities of various children and organize programs to enhance and exhibit their hidden talents
  8. Provision of adequate assistive devices and learning materials in institutions
  9. Proper training to teachers about special education and inclusive education
  10. Conduct campaign and enable participation of all local agencies, community and people to make both schools and community disabled friendly
  11. Address the prevalent violence and abuse towards children especially on disabled ones and ensure their all kinds of rights and privileges.
  12. Make policies and implement accordingly
  13. Address economic disparity so to empower poor family and ensuring that every socially excluded child receives quality education
  14. Enable interaction, counselling and discussion among all stakeholders about how to bring reforms in overall aspect of education

Conclusion

The event accomplished with a high level of energy and positive feedbacks from the participants and ended with certificate distribution among the participants. The duration of workshop was only two days which might not be enough to discuss and share ideas among the school representatives about inclusive education and disability. However, the policy makers as well as the implementing bodies should understand the essence of inclusivity in education in order to ensure the equality in education system of Nepal. If we are able to mainstream the socially excluded group of children like disabled, then only we can ensure the child rights of all differently abled children. Also, the concerned local body should sincerely consider the above mentioned recommendations and address them as far as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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