ISLAMABAD: A two-day conference on “Child Friendly Inclusive Education” started in Islamabad on Tuesday.
The conference, a joint initiative of Unicef, Unesco, Sightsavers and Federal College of Education (FCE), aimed to promote national standards for child-friendly inclusive schooling in schools across the country and to raise the literacy rate. The meeting aimed at securing the future of over six million children who are with minor disabilities and are deprived of an education.
Every child has a right to education but children with disabilities are treated differently as they are put in special educational institutions, said Director FCE Rafique Tahir, while addressing the conference. He said that inclusive education takes care of the needs of children with disabilities like slow learning and low vision and aims at bringing all children into schools, irrespective of their class, gender and economic background.
Tahir said his institute, with the help of the Norwegian government, initiated work on inclusive education in the country in 2002. A pilot project was started on a cluster of sixteen schools, from urban and rural areas of Islamabad, with Rs30 million of funds provided by International Development Partners in Norway. Rafique Tahir said the project successfully trained 200 teachers besides material development.
In the second phase, he said, 843 children of moderate disability were given admission in those chosen schools. Facilities were upgraded at designated schools, with building of ramps and play rides to keep the children engaged in healthy activities.
Nafeesa Shah, National Commission for Human Development, said Pakistan is progressing toward the goal of Universal Primary Education by providing registers that track children from birth.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2010.