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Posted by / Wednesday, 14 March 2018 / No comments

Sierra Leone's Inclusive Education Policy ready

Sight Savers Country Director Nancy Smart
Sight Savers Country Director Nancy Smart
The proposed inclusive education policy was informed by current and international priorities and practices. The existing national policies and initiatives has been validated at the Njala Venue in Freetown on Thursday 23 November 2017.

The policy was developed out of research conducted by the University of Northampton and commissioned by the Education for Children and Disabilities Network and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. The policy defines “Inclusive as a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all learners through inclusive practices in learning, cultures and communities.” The policy highlighted ways of reducing exclusion within and from education that involves changes and modifications in content approaches structures and strategies.

The promotion of inclusive education for all has particular importance for those individuals and groups who have been marginalized within society as a result of poverty, gender, disability or social class. The UNESCO 2015 Sustainable Development Goals emphasized the need for national governments to recognize and challenge those factors and conditions that have resulted in exclusion from school for many children.

The Country Director for Sight Savers, Nancy Smart, said her organization has been working for children with disabilities for over 50-years in the country and include children with disabilities on the education agenda.

She said in 2012 at the International Disabled Day, the Minister of Education promised a disability policy. 10 years ago they cannot talk on inclusive education but the new policy is a major success for them.

The Kailahun district coordinator for Sierra Leone Union on Disability, Francis Paul Borbor Tucker, said the entire district don’t have school for persons with disabilities stressing that the 1991 Constitution called for the establishment of schools after every 4 miles. He said there are few special needs schools and teachers in the country and that if the policy is to be effective basic structures need to be put in place.

The 1994 UNESCO Salamanca Statement and Framework for ‘Action on Special Needs Education’ asserted the right of ‘all children’ regardless of need or ability to access formal education under the administration of national government agencies. In 2009 also, the Global Report on ‘Better Education for All’, which is an International model of Inclusive education, acknowledges that whilst significant progress had been toward achieving universal primary education, there is a need for comprehensive national policies to remain as an issue in many countries.

The Director of Programs at the Ministry of Education, Mansaray Milton Piers, on behalf of the Minister, confirmed the non-availability of teachers in special need areas to handle disabled kids. He assured that the Ministry will champion the policy for the attention of Parliament for adoption. He said presently only the University of Makeni (UNIMAK) offers training of special needs teachers.

By Mohamed Kabba
awoko.org


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