Inclusive Education in Bangladesh
The Situation on the Ground:
Bangladesh is home to 156.6 million people, of whom 5-12% are persons with disabilities.
Only 5% of school-age students with disabilities are enrolled in school, which according to the CRP is due to existing stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities, lack of accessible infrastructure and lack of schools for people with disabilities. Although there are special schools in Bangladesh, there are no inclusive schools that educate children with and without disabilities together. So far, WMTS is the only school with an inclusive approach in Bangladesh. A total of 135 children are currently being taught at WMTS, of which at least 25 are children with disabilities (physical or mental disabilities). Even though WMTS with its inclusive approach educates children both without and with disabilities, there is a great need for support to implement and strengthen inclusion and inclusive education at WMTS: there is a lack of barrier-free access to the upper floor of the building, technical aids (e.g. didactic material, computers) and appropriate equipment (e.g. special chairs for the children with physical disabilities) as well as teaching staff with the necessary skills and qualifications for teaching heterogeneous learning groups.
The organisation promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities in all areas of life and supports WMTS as the only inclusive school in Bangladesh.
- Provides treatment, rehabilitation and support services for physical, emotional, social, psychological and economic needs
- Promotes the development of professional health and rehabilitation staff in the country
- Develops centres in cooperation with other organisations in different parts of the country to improve services for people with disabilities.
- Organises and promotes disability prevention programmes
- Develops programmes for early diagnosis, therapeutic interventions and education
- Promotion of advocacy and strengthening of disability networks
- Empowerment of people with disabilities through community-based services
- Empowerment of women and girls with disabilities
- Awareness raising around disability at national, regional and international levels
- Promotion of sports and leisure activities for people with disabilities
CRP is an NGO founded in 1979 and headquartered in Savar, Bangladesh. CRP works for the inclusion of girls and boys, women and men with disabilities in mainstream society. In doing so, CRP promotes the participation and equal access of children and adults with disabilities to health care, education, employment, necessary rehabilitation, infrastructure and information.
Accessibility in the School Building
Before the project started, the students with disabilities could not reach the classrooms on the first floor. In order for the pupils with disabilities to be able to attend classes in the ground floor classrooms together with pupils without disabilities, a ramp should be built from the ground floor to the ground floor of the school building.
Equipping Classrooms for Inclusive Education
WMTS has a total of 13 classrooms. Most of the classrooms are not equipped according to the needs of the pupils. As a result, the children with disabilities in these rooms face particular difficulties in class because they cannot follow the lessons due to the lack of technical aids and materials. They are thus severely disadvantaged and cannot acquire a good education.
For these classrooms, technical aids were specifically purchased, such as height-adjustable desks and chairs, learning materials, computers and multimedia projectors for teaching and learning, new blackboards and sensory aids for visual, auditory and tactile support. In addition, musical instruments are needed for motor and relaxation exercises for children with motor impairments.
Advanced Training for Teachers on Inclusive Teaching and Learning
The teachers of the WMTS were taught the basic skills for teaching in heterogeneous groups (implementation of inclusive teaching). They were trained to recognise the different needs of the pupils and learned to respond accordingly through adequate teaching methods. During the training, the teachers learned how to design their own inclusive lessons so that they can meet the diverse needs of the pupils.
In addition, the teachers were taught how to make their didactic material inclusive, e.g. by preparing texts in easy language, using pictures, audio materials.
Bezev was on site and implemented the training with the WMTS staff. The funding of the project by bezev has already expired.
You can find more information about the William and Mary Tailor Inclusive School by following this link: CRP Bangladesh