A workshop Promoting Disability Inclusive Education supported by USAID and the Government of Nepal was organized by BPEF-CHEERS in the Central Region of Nepal in Bharatpur, Chitwan from 31st May 1st to 1st June, 2017. This is one of the five Regional Workshops organized in different parts of the country, to network and sensitize stakeholders(special education teachers, administrators, policy makers) working with /for children with disabilities in the Central Region to promote disability inclusive education so that they can be mainstreamed in education and eventually into the society.
There were a total of 20 participants from 14 districts, out of which 9 were visually impaired( blind), 7 had physical disabilities, one had an intellectual disability and three others. It was participatory in nature where the participants were asked to share problems they faced when dealing with children with disabilities and solutions on how disability inclusive education could be fostered and improved, with the five members of the organizing team.
Highlights of Workshop
- The Programme was inaugurated by Chief Guest Mr. Gangadhar Rimal, Deputy District Education Officer, Chitwan. Prakash Sanjyal, the visually impaired nine year old boy who has been trained at BPEF-CHEERS as a “Little Ambassador” played the role of Master of Ceremony. A recorded video of the national anthem sung by the children at BPEF-CHEERS was played. Mr Rimal praised the performance of Little Ambassador as Master of Ceremony and hoped for a productive outcome of the workshop. He mentioned that each individual should fulfill their responsibilities and appropriate communication was the most essential tool in bringing CWBVI to the mainstream of education.
- Mr. Ganga Prasd Wagle, Chairperson Central Development Region, NFDN( National Federation of Disabled- Nepal) expressed his happiness at the opportunity the participants got to speak during the present workshop while the organizers listened to them. He praised the endeavor of the Little Ambassador. He highlighted facts on very little awareness being present among the parents of CWBVI, Resource Classes for the deaf and hard of hearing children not being appropriate and in good condition and the need for policies of the Government of Nepal (especially those concerning Deaf Schools) to be revised. He is eager to cooperate in the programs of BPEF/CHEERS. He also mentioned about the Residential Scholarship (NPR 4000) for the education of children with disabilities being a sufficient amount. He said that that the local government would start working soon which would facilitate in working better. He was surprised to note that children with disabilities had no access to Early Childhood Development Centres(ECDCs) and felt that all ECDCs must allow these children to study.
- Prof Dr Madan P. Upadhyay, Chairman Emeritus concluded the inaugural programme with his remarks. He mentioned that the organizers would be happy to hear more about problems and solutions from the participants themselves for promoting disability inclusive education rather than the organizers talking about it. This would facilitate BPEF-CHEERS’s work in locating and identifying children with disabilities in the country which is the most challenging obstacle because children with disabilities are hidden inside the house due to lack of knowledge and ignorance of parents and the society. This needs to be overcome. Besides the participants’ shared knowledge and information might also help in improving/changing policies related to children with disabilities of the Government.
- Biplob Acharya shared BPEF- CHEERS’ data on the number of children being trained at the Enabling Centre, those graduated and those who had been admitted in schools
- Two videos Jivanshaili Part 1 and Part 2 were shown to the participants which focused on how words of respect need to be used while addressing children with disabilities as children are quick in picking up what they hear. Stories told to children should never be about violence and negativity and words like killing, hitting, bashing and beating must not be used. A video clip of dance and song by local blind students and teachers was also shown.
- The Little Ambassador narrated his personal story with confidence on how he lived at home before he got admitted at the Rehabilitation Centre in BPEF-CHEERS and the changes he underwent after the training there. A video recording of the children at BPEF-CHEERS engaged in singing a song was also shown to the participants.
- Learnings: The following three areas were found out to be most challenging when it came to promoting disability inclusive education for CWBVI: (1)locating CWBVI, (2) getting referrals and (3)enrollment and retention of CWDVI in schools. The participants were divided into three groups to come up with barriers and solutions for the above areas.
Barriers for locating CWBVI
- Lack of data
- Geographical difficulties
- Lack of proper awareness and proper communication
- Poverty and Illiteracy
- Identity crisis of CWBVI
- Public school are not disable friendly
- Propensity to hide the CWBVI
Solutions for above barriers
- District wise data collection
- All the school environment should be disable friendly/ welcoming environment
- Dissemination of information through local news papers, radio ,TV, street drama
- Arrangement of the enough scholarship
- There should be trained teachers in each school where CWBVI will have to be enrolled
- There should be a facility to have eye check up in all health centres
- The feeling of responsibility in the community, family and schools should be generated
- Equal participation of health worker, volunteers and mother group should be provided for detecting and referring CWBVI in CHEERS.
- There should be active participations of DPOs and other organizations to
Barriers for getting referrals
- Lack of interest among the children to get admitted in CHEERS because of unawareness about the services and facilities of CHEERS
- Lack of awareness and education among the parents about the education of the CWBVI
- Lack of adequate information and knowledge about CHEERS/Enabling centre
- Geographical difficulties
- Poor economic status
- Lack of ideas about the education and opportunity
- Superstitious and irrational believes
- Not being prudent for the future
Solutions for the above barriers
- High level of awareness should be generated among CWBVI and their parents
- Awareness program about future of the CWBVI should be introduced at the community level
- The transport expenses should be covered by the parents and government
- Rule and regulation related to education of the CWBVI should be implemented effectively and strictly
Barriers for enrollment and retention of CWBVI in schools
- Lack of essential documents
- Lack of appropriate environment
- Lack of proper behavior
- Lack of a disabled children friendly environment
- Lack of sufficient educational materials
- Lack of sports and other recreational materials
- Lack of awareness among the parents
Solutions for the above barriers
- Adaptable environment for CWBVI should be created
- Educational and other materials for the CWBVI should be appropriately provided
- Training to the parents and teachers should be provided as per their need
- Monitoring and evaluation should be undertaken from time to time
Conclusion and some positive observations from the workshop
- The organizers spoke less and listened to the participants more
- There were a good number of participants (25 including the organizing team)
- Almost all participants were capable leaders of NGOs in their respective districts
- The participants assured to include the agenda in their network meetings
- Mr. Ganga Prasad Wagle was selected as coordinator and Miss Laxmi Nepal as joint coordinator of the network team
- The program was also prepared in Braille
- Child right documents needs to be studied/read and understood by everyone