National Policy for Special Education

By Syed, Azra | Economic Review, November 1994 | Go to article overview

National Policy for Special Education


Syed, Azra, Economic Review


A National Trust for the disabled should be established to execute national policies and formulate and implement plans for the disabled, strengthen and expand the existing institutions and set up new institutions and maintain cadres of special education inspectors, teachers and special villages and homes for the disabled.

The United Nations has declared 1983-1992 as the Decade of the Disabled. It is considered necessary to formulate a national strategy to tackle the problems of the disabled and handicapped of all categories and descriptions in Pakistan. In order to be effective this strategy needs to be as inter-ministerial programme involving the central provincial and local governments and the voluntary social organisations engaged in this work.

This document prepared by Mr. M. Salman Farooqui, Director General, Special Education contains proposals for the national plan. In mehking these proposals, an effort has been made to be realistic and a major part of the plan could be implemented through a redeployment of the existing resources. Some of the proposals would inevitably require additional resources. The plan should be reviewed from time to time and steps taken to include such other disabilities that may appear as a result of changing pattern of disablement.

The Directorate General of Special Education invites comments on the proposals contained in this document and suggestions for inclusion in the draft plan before it is presented to National Working Group constituted by the inter-ministerial meeting held at Islamabad on 23rd Jan uary, 1986.

The educational provision in ordinary schools does not cater for the children with disabilities of body and mind. These disabilities result in a variety of learning problems which require special educational arrangements. These arrangements for meeting the special needs constitute special education.

The provision of special education cannot be fully productive till the various other aspects of the needs of the disabled, including early assessment and diagnosis, medical treatment, physical improvement, vocational training social integration and rehabilitation, are looked after effectively and services are fully developed to provide these needs.

Special Education is now a crucial and developing role in Pakistan which is now committed, not merely to tending and caring for its handicapped population, but to educating them, as a matter of right and to developing their potential to the full.

Plan of Action

Census, Discovery, Assessment and Registration. The proposed medical-based census in Islamabad may be extended to cover all disabilities and all ages. Similar census should be conducted in other selected areas.

Every basic health unit should have a multi-purpose worker trained in primary disability detection.

Children with moderate or severe handicap should be referred by B.H.Us to District Handicap Teams in the proposed District Centers. These teams should be multi medical and surgical professional and they should be augmented to carry out among its functions the assessment of children with special educational needs.

The proposed National Centers should function as National Registration Offices for the respective disabilities. These Centers should operate procedures for monitoring the progress of disabled persons.

Education

Special Education should be related to a child's individual needs as distinct from his disability. Special Education Division should be responsible for and provided with the necessary resources to raise the percentage of disabled children in schools. The integration plan should be federally sponsored and subsidised, if it is to achieve success.

The Federal Government should set up Special Education Centres in each District Headquarters with facilities for:

* model education in each disability,;

* training of teachers of special and ordinary schools in the district;

* multi-professional assessment and referral services;

* registration of disabled persons;

* parent counselling;

* library and information dissemination services;

* district level sports facilities and competitions of the disabled;

* Coordination with the National Centers and local public and private organisations concerned with the disabled. …

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