Children with special needs deserve an equal opportunity to quality education. This will eventually enable them to develop into valuable members of their immediate community. Access to education will help them make useful contributions to the economic growth of the society regardless of their parts of special needs. Special needs children consist of all children who, for whichever reasons, are not able to benefit from a normal school program. Children and young people with special needs otherwise known as the disabled are considered to be among the poorest and largely marginalized of the world’s population. Most parents tend to shy away and hide these children from public involvement. This may be due to traditional beliefs. Some parents go an extent of doing so in the name of avoiding “embarrassment”. As a result, they are incapacitated to make a meaningful contribution in the community and earn a meaningful living wage; they usually forced to depend on other people for charity through begging. To address this gap, governments should introduce inclusive education systems in schools.
Inclusive education system
Governments should enhance inclusion in their education systems. Inclusion is when children with special needs receive their appropriate academic curriculum in the universal education program. This program is different from the mainstreaming system. In this system, students with special needs spend part of their school hours in the universal education program and another part in a separate special learning program.
In order to achieve an all-inclusive education system, children with disabilities require modification and adjustment of the learning environment in one way or another to suit their learning needs. Although there are special educators for these children, parents, policy-makers and other governmental and non-governmental stakeholders should continue to deliberate on and embrace the benefits and challenges of inclusive education.
An inclusive education system is the key and should be encouraged by governments and policymakers by way of providing infrastructure, curriculum and other facilities that will improve learning, socialization and overall development of such children. Including children with special needs in universal education will give them an opportunity to learn in an ordinary and motivating classroom setting. This will lead to better acceptance and more appreciation of their differences by other children.
The school education systems should elevate learning standards, develop social and personal skills for educators as well as broaden school curricula. School leadership should pay great attention to equal learning opportunities for all children so as to better their lives. To make inclusive education a success, governments should develop ways to offset learning costs for the disabled. Schools should seek alternative sources of funding from governmental and non-governmental charitable institutions including grants, loans, and scholarships.
There are many barriers to providing a better learning environment for children with special needs in an ordinary classroom. Examples of such barriers are the many forms of superstitious beliefs associated with different types of disabilities that have for a very long time inhibited the involvement of people with disabilities, lack of enough professional, in normal classes, to handle these children and lack of appropriate facilities for their learning needs. Therefore, their needs require special attention and adequate resources.
Barriers to an inclusive education system can be conquered by creating consciousness on what inclusion is and its benefits to the community. Schools should allocate resources and re-structure their education curriculum to accommodate all nature of students. Schools should also recruit educators who have skills in handling and teaching these children.