Creating mainstream schools in a war-torn country
- Swedish Committee for Afghanistan
- Country of Implementation
- Asia & Pacific
- South Asia
- First published
“It is not war, neither is it foreign or national soldiers who will change the education system in Afghanistan, but the change of attitude towards children and persons with disabilities.” Mr. Joseph M. Evans, SCA Inclusive Education Advisor
Afghanistan has been in war for over 30 years and still counting. Political instability, insurgency, corruption, and lack of sustainable education policies are some of the main barriers to the development of Inclusive Education. In response, the project engages with the goverment to advocate for Inclusive Education, targeting vulnerable children, children with disabilities, and girls. One of these engagements was to assist the goverment to develop an Inclusive Education Policy, which came into force in December 2014. Earlier, the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan created special education programmes focused on the early identification of children with disabilities and early intervention through home-based education. Following their home-based education, the children were transferred to a Community Rehabilitation Development Centre, where they were introduced to formal literacy and numeracy for two to three years before transitioning to a mainstream school.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
In order to provide Inclusive Education, the project offers support through early intervention training and the creation of an accessible learning environment. Community-based rehabilitation workers, special education teachers, physiotherapists, parents, and local leaders foster the students so they can ultimately attend mainsteam schools. Materials developed include Braille books and writing implements, basic sign language books, woodblocks, textbooks, writing materials, and games, among others. The programme also arranges training schedules for teachers when school is in recess. Training includes how to set up an inclusive classroom, the preparation of inclusive lesson plans, and the recognition of children´s learning diversities.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The forecast for 2015 is to provide support to 12 community-based schools, where 12 resource centres have been earmarked for construction. The resource centres will act as the material development centre for community-based teachers; as training centres for teachers and parents; as assessment centres for children with disabilities; and as hubs for assesting community-based schools. Six new schools with six classrooms each will be constructed. In addition, the training of trainers is a major focus to boost the quality of teaching. In 2016 adult literacy for parents, a learning programme for out-of-school children, and early children education are under consideration.
THE STORY OF RAYHANA
“Rayhana now actively participates in the educational process.”
Rayhana is seven years old and has a hearing impairment. In preparation for her entry into a mainstream school, Rayhana received a year of homebased education conducted by the Rehabilitation of Afghans with Disabilities (RAD) programme. At the start of the 2015 school year, the first-grader was mainstreamed into a government school in the district of Kishem, in Takhar province. Her initial school days were marked by silence and a little shame, but she gradually became acclimated to her new environment, and with the assistance of her teacher and her classmates she now actively participates in the educational process. Rayhana says she is very happy with her classmates and the school. Her teacher has attended a workshop on Inclusive Education to enable her to support Rayhana, and additional support is given by Inclusive Education Resource Persons (IERP) from the Project Office. Rayhana uses sign language to communicate with her teacher, who is scheduled to undergo an intensive sign language course in 2016.