The recently concluded annual education conference endorsed the standards for inclusive education, which aims to standardize the quality of inclusive education provided to children with disabilities and improve quality of inclusive education across all schools and for all children in Bhutan.
The Standards for Inclusive Education are a tool to support schools in Bhutan towards becoming more inclusive and it aims to provide guidance to schools for reflection, planning and actions towards inclusion.
The National Education Policy of Bhutan states that special educational needs of all students shall be catered to, to enhance both participation in education and the quality of learning.
To help achieve Bhutan’s goal of quality inclusive education all children with disabilities and special needs, including those with physical, mental and other types of impairment, will be able to access and benefit from education which will include full access to the curriculum, participation in extra-curricular activities and access to cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activities.
The program will be supported by trained and qualified personnel using teaching strategies responsive to different learning styles to ensure effective learning.
The teacher training will be re-oriented as a means of achieving the objectives of the children with disabilities and those with special needs will, to the greatest extent possible, be able to attend a local school where they will receive quality education alongside their non-disabled peers.
Given that children with disabilities who spend time away from home in educational boarding facilities shall be ensured inclusive education and safety, it was discussed that the provision of education should not take children away from their families and local communities since maximum participation by parents should be secured to achieve partnership in education. Institutes of higher learning will be equally accessible to disabled young people.
It was recommended strengthening the demand and capacity for community based rehabilitation, inclusive health and education services for children living with disabilities. Since not all disabilities can be prevented it is important to strive to make society inclusive, so that all its children have the opportunity to fully participate in society which includes evaluating and rethinking all social programs, such as schools, training and many more.
The standard will be implemented as a pilot program in all schools with Special Education Needs (SEN) program.