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Inclusive Teaching Project Aims to Get Missing Million Into School

  • Published: 2017-11-06 : University of Sussex (sussex.ac.uk).
  • Synopsis: Project aims to train teachers in Uganda in inclusive education practices in a country where the number of children with disabilities going to school continues to fall.

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Quote: "We regularly teach our students about child rights and education for all but it is wonderful to be part of a project where Sustainable Development Goals are really being enacted."

The first stage of a project developed with the University of Sussex, England, aiming to help more of Uganda's one million disabled children "missing" from formal education to go to school is set to be completed in a matter of months.

The project, funded and led by the charity Sightsavers, aims to train thousands of teachers in Uganda in inclusive education practices in a country where the number of children with disabilities going to school continues to fall.

Dr Jo Westbrook, a senior lecturer in education at the University of Sussex who recently flew out to Uganda to oversee the second stage of face-to-face training, said: "It was fantastic to see those tutors on the course beginning to understand how it would be possible to include disabled pupils in their lessons despite them often being conducted under very difficult circumstances. We are still at an early stage but we are very hopeful that the impact of this training will be felt by a great many children with disabilities over time."

University of Sussex academics have been working for more than two years with the University of Kyambogo in Uganda, to develop and implement a certificate in inclusive education that teacher educators from the country's Primary Teacher Colleges will be trained in. The certificate is designed to support them in the concepts and practical teaching skills to give their trainee teachers the knowledge, understanding and strategies to fully involve children with disabilities in lessons in a challenging environment where class sizes can be up to 80 pupils.

As well as teaching a wide range of skills to new trainee teachers, including assessment of needs, braille, Ugandan sign language, and inclusive teaching approaches such as role play and group work exercises, an outreach programme has also been designed to improve standards among more experienced teaching staff and government inspectors.

Dr Jacqui Shepherd, a lecturer in education at the University of Sussex, said;

"We regularly teach our students about child rights and education for all but it is wonderful to be part of a project where Sustainable Development Goals are really being enacted. There are some very different perspectives around disability in Uganda but this project has the potential to really challenge stereotypes and move towards more inclusive schooling."

Guy Le Fanu, Global Technical Lead for Education at Sightsavers said;

"We are delighted to be working with the University of Sussex on this project. The technical input of Jo and Jacqui is enormously appreciated".

Dr Pamela Nizeyimana, from Uganda's ministry of education and sports, said;

"Achieving Sustainable Development Goal four cannot be done without having teachers and tutors trained to support in the implementation. The inclusive education project with support from the University of Sussex and Sightsavers was timely and a dire need for our country."

A man who is standing outdoors teaches a group of seated people in Uganda.
About This Image: A man who is standing outdoors teaches a group of seated people in Uganda.

About the Teaching Project

About Sustainable Development Goal Four

About Sightsavers

Sightsavers is an international organisation that works in more than 30 developing countries to prevent blindness, restore sight and advocate for social inclusion and equal rights for people with disabilities. It is a registered UK charity (Registered charity numbers 207544 and SC038110) www.sightsavers.org

There are 36 million blind people in the world; 75% of all blindness can be prevented or cured.

In the Six Decades Since Its Foundation, Sightsavers Has

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4 : Exclusion From School Can Trigger Long-Term Psychiatric Illness : University of Exeter.
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