Responding to the report on the shortage of specialized teachers and lack of infrastructure and appropriate teaching materials for special educational needs (SEN) program, in the story last week, the Chief Program Officer, Early Childhood Care and Development and Special Education Needs Division under the Ministry of Education (MoE), Sherab Phuntshok, said the ministry is fully aware of the budget constraints and shortages.
He said special institutes and schools with SEN program are without a separate budget because the schools have either not sent a yearly budget proposal or they lack of knowledge on the requirement to run special schools and SEN program.
Following the findings made in a study of special education institutes, such as Wangsel Institute, Paro and Mensuling Institute, Khaling, MoE issued a circular in the beginning of 2019 for the segregation of special institutes from the central schools.
The segregation has been successful and budget allocation has been carried out successfully by the respective districts, said Sherab Phuntshok.
MoE submitted a request to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) for a separate budget for special institutes and schools with SEN program.
Following the approval from MoF, the respective schools and dzongkhag administration have to put up their budget proposals during the yearly budget proposal time.
He said MoE is also aware that majority of teachers providing services to children with disability are not certified to provide the services. “But all these teachers are trained with teaching profession certificate either as under graduate or post graduate. The ministry has trained these teachers in the special institute and schools with SEN program,” he added.
According to MoE, orientation on inclusive education standard is provided to all the teachers of the two special institutes and 18 schools with SEN programme/
MoE ensures there are at least 10 teachers each from 18 schools with SEN program and two special institutes in the inclusive education module and rapid nero developmental assessment (RNDA). “In this coming winter, December 2019 and January 2020, another 30 teachers will be trained on inclusive education module and RNDA,” said the Chief Program Officer.
From 2020 onwards, Paro College of Education will be initiating Master in Inclusive and Special Education for 20 teachers who have been providing services to CWD. The program is initiated based on the findings of the situational analysis carried out by Paro College of Education.
Upon the intimation of MoE to RCSC, a teacher from one of the SEN program schools is undergoing a master’s degree program in special and inclusive studies in Australia.
2 teachers from SEN program are undergoing master’s degree in special education in the Philippines supported by the Bhutan Foundation.
MoE, with support from its development partners, aims to offer master’s degree in inclusive education in Paro College from 2020 onwards, said Sherab Phuntshok.