No Stakeholder Supporting Inclusive Education in Thyolo
Lack of resources is said to be hampering efforts to scale up inclusive education in Thyolo which has 27 qualified special needs teachers against 188 primary schools.
The district's inclusive education coordinator Alexious Gawani, told Zodiak Online on Friday that for a long time, stakeholders have not shown interest or commitment to complement government in training more mainstream teachers with basic skills.
"We are trying to reach out to teachers who have never gone to school of inclusive education so that at each and every school there is that representation.
"In fact, at the moment dependency is only on district resources. In the past we used to have NGOs who were assisting us in one way or the other, but now we have none. We want trainings in all the zones or schools," Gawani said.
He said this is affecting education for special needs learners in the schools where there is no teacher.
Recently, headteacher for Mountain View boarding primary school of the deaf, Modesta Jere, also complained of understaffing, saying 17 teachers are serving over 160 learners, which is against the recommended teacher, student ratio of 1:6 or 12.
"This has affected speech room operations which require designated teachers. It is recommended for every teacher to have a class of six to a maximum of 12 learners," she said.
But on that one, Gawani said," government has posted six more teachers which are expected to cover the gap at the school once their logistical issues are rectified".
However, going forward, Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) Executive Director Benedicto Kondowe said this is a pointer to a bigger problem.
Kondowe then suggested that government should be steadfast to dedicate a special quota when recruiting teachers in Teacher Training Colleges.
"I think as we are recruiting teachers in TTCs government should dedicate a specific quota that will carter for the specialised training.