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Sightsavers Train lecturers on Inclusive and Special Needs Education

Sight savers Sierra Leone in partnership with the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education has started a three-day training for lecturers from the various teacher training institutions across the country on Inclusive and Special Needs Education on Wednesday 26th January ,2022 at UMC hall in Bo city
The Deputy Chief of Technical and Higher Education Officer at the Ministry Technical and Higher Education (MHTE), Musu M. Gorvie said training of teacher training institutions on Inclusive and Special Needs Education is an integral since that is where the qualitative issues emanate from, so, if they are not given the required quality training, they would not give quality when they get back to their various schools.
She explained that school system has all categories of students the very reason teachers should be trained to know on how to manage the different kind of students they would have in their classrooms, noting that the ministry is going to be more proactive in collaborating with sight savers to start thinking about designing certificate for specialize programs of this nature.
“There is no reason we cannot train somebody to have BSe. special needs education or BSe. mathematics primary education I think we should be more radical in our approach in training teachers in specialize areas, with this good start I hope would be able to train teachers enough on special needs education in all areas of our education system,” she alluded.
Madam Gorvie noted that the ministry has prioritize supporting teachers, the tertiary minister most recently asked for cabinet support to enhance the capacity of teachers in the sub region and the document has been approved by cabinet and the ministry is going to work towards it , noting that they need more and more qualification in academia if do not qualify then you do not have a place in academia, so, the ministry is relying on the lecturers to compete for the available opportunities in the system.
According the Deputy chief, when they were doing the education sector plan on the part of profile: “It would be surprising that PhDs. and masters are so limited in tertiary institutions, we looking at time when each of lecturer will be a PhDs. holders, so that the element of research would go on, stating that research is one of the greatest weaknesses in the system. So much input is done in the various institutions in terms of supporting different programs but there is no research to guide the process. “
She called on them to prioritize research so that when they come out with policies that would be deliberate and would stand the test of time, adding that higher education is the heart beat of education, though basic is not important, but higher education is the domain where the curricula is developed to service the whole system.
She encouraged the lecturers to actually participate by making their inputs the document, if they disagree with anything in the document, they are open for engagement and collaboration.

Expressing delight on this fulfilment after several years of advocacy this one of the key outcomes, the Country Director of Sight savers Sierra Leone , Nancy Smart disclosed that inclusive education is part of the radical inclusion policy , which has been approved by cabinet ,noting that they have been working with the Ministry for so long for actualizing this, especially the Technical Working Group that was formed to lead on the process .She commended the technical group that was headed by Dr.Tamba Kebbie for their sacrifices and commitment they have put ensuring the work is complete and people can smile now.
According to her, they started this journey five years ago with the education network for children with disabilities struggling to have inclusive education in the country’s curriculum.
“We want to commend all the lecturers from the various Higher institutions for who here today, we have started somewhere on inclusive education to strive and the best place to start is where teachers are taught since they are impacting knowledge to the teachers and they will go back to impact in the children. They will look at the peers as their colleagues in the society,” she alluded.
Madam Nancy noted that it not only for children with disabilities but girls that are being marginalized including pregnant girls , noting the teachers have to use the skills to ensure that they are included in the country’s education system, describing the training as a ground-breaking for lecturers from the various Higher teacher institutions.
“There is no way we can Leave no behind is one of the key principles in the Sustainable Development Goals and country’s medium term development plan and that what we are working towards to ensure we include everyone in respective of your disabilities, physical structure, environment, accessibility we need to include everyone in whatever form,” she added.
She noted that it’s a daunting task for them but with these tools they are acquiring they would not just use these tools at school but at their various homes in order to overcome these challenges. She pointed out that the children are also contributing towards development and they are making their effort to ensure that development in education becomes a success and ensure that they are educated or else they become burden to the country.
Giving an overview about the inclusive and special needs education curriculum the Chairman of Technical Working Group, Dr.Tamba Kebbie informed his gathering that the technical working group has been on the development of the inclusive and special needs education document for the past two years for materials to be put together.
“We want to ensure the curriculum for inclusive and special needs education is added to the teaching curriculum in the education department to be specific since the module will help to enhance the understanding of teachers and students that are found in the teacher learning institution,” he added.
He added that module one captures inclusive and special needs education, it has five units three units for 1st semester and two units for 2nd semester design specially for teachers’ certificate, module two captures human rights and pedagogy on inclusive education, and module three captures communications and assessment in inclusive education.
“This particular is a course is course of integration we have infuse two main contents courses to form one the emerging issue content taught in the various institution for which the students are being assessed and inclusive education content .We have merged those two to give us a course of integration wherein no specific course stands on it own in the teaching education curriculum for inclusive education in order to ensure that issues affecting the country and those category of learners ,” he disclosed.
He noted that the training is for collaboration for the lecturers to add meaningful ideas together and nobody is going to be left out in order to come out with a material that would be needful for all Sierra Leoneans for no one to be left behind including the street children.
On behalf Technical Working Group, the Dean of Faculty of Eastern Technical University, Alhaji Sheku Kamara commended the Sight savers and Ministry of Technical and Higher education for supporting the initiative and for bringing the lecturers together, describing the process as a novelty.

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