19 Sep 2014 14:50pm
WINDHOEK, 19 SEP (NAMPA) - The University of Namibia (UNAM) needs to offer disability-specific courses so that the teaching and learning approaches applicable to specific disabilities can be better- understood.
This was said by the Under-secretary for Formal Education in the Ministry of Education (MoE), Charles Kabajani in a document where he highlighted the achievements which the Sector Policy on Inclusive Education achieved prior to its launch.
The Minister of Education, David Namwandi launched the policy in Windhoek on Tuesday.
The policy aims to ensure that Namibias education system is inclusive, sensitive and responsive to the needs of all children.
Kabajani noted that UNAM currently offers a compulsory module on Inclusive Education for all teachers in training, as well as a Masters Degree on Inclusive Education.
Amongst the highlights he noted is that all students enrolled for the Basic Education Teachers Diploma are now able to take Namibian Sign Language (NSL) as an elective, and are being trained as teacher sign language interpreters.
The MoE has also established positions for deaf assistants and teacher sign language interpreters, in line with advancing education for learners who are deaf, in addition to promoting NSL.
Sign language interpreters are appointed at schools where deaf learners are taught.
Kabajani further stated that some regions in Namibia have now appointed Inclusive Education officials, with Otjozondjupa being the first-ever to do so.
Namibia was also the first country in Africa then to offer sign language as an examinable subject up to Grade 12 level.
The MoE furthermore maximises on existing bilateral agreements, in addition to fostering professional relationships and collaborations within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, in Africa and internationally.
This is due to the fact that there is little expertise on Inclusive Education in Namibia. Locally, we work closely with UNAMs Faculty of Education as partners, he said.
Kabajani indicated that other achievements include regular in-service training to serving teachers involved in the education of learners with disabilities.
Currently, the MoE is also engaging the Association for Children with Language, Speech and Hearing Impairments (CLaSH) for the offering of similar training in screening deafness, and training on teaching Braille is offered to teachers of visually-impaired learners.
A Namibian index for inclusion has likewise been formulated to be printed soon, which index will assist with creating an inclusive, caring and supporting learning and teaching environment.