By Chisomo Phiri
BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-In a bid to reach students with special needs, Ministry of Education has partnered with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) train 700 teachers and administrators in special needs education in all 34 education districts of the country.
These include, head teachers, education managers and inclusive education coordinators.
This was said by the deputy Minister of Education Monica Ching’anamuno during the symbolic handover of learning materials to schools with special needs training centres across the country at a function that took place at Lilongwe demonstration primary school on Friday May 6, 2022.
“It is a great privilege and honour for me to preside over this Universal Design for Learning approach to Inclusive education and family toolkit of materials ceremony.
“These materials will go a long way in supporting learners with disabilities learn to read at the right level,” said Ching’anamuno.
She added; “We all know that a literature society is one whose citizens are capacitated and able to contribute positively towards the development of their nation.
“Therefore, ensuring that all learners are taken on board without discrimination against them based on their disability is a milestone towards achieving an inclusive and productive society.”
The Deputy Minister said so far, her ministry through USAID’s Reading for All Malawi (REFAM) project, has trained 296 teachers and 403 administrators in the UDL approach of teaching an inclusive classroom.
She said these teachers and administrators have been equipped with skills in screening and identification of Special Needs Education teachers as coaches plus engaging families and individualized education plans.
USAID Malawi’s Director of Education Christine Veverka said USAID will continue support Malawi with National Reading Program (NRP) through provision of resources so as to improve literacy for learners with visual, hearing and intellectual disabilities.
In Malawi, there are approximately 175,000 children with disabilities in primary schools in which is only 69% of the total number of school age children, as many remain out of school due to lack of access, provision and awareness (MoEST 2019).
The country has two available Training of specialist teachers for children with disabilities at Montfort Special Needs Education College (MSNEC) and at the Catholic University of Malawi (CUNIMA), both in Chiradzulu district.