Teachers develop grass roots e-tool to support inclusive education
UNICEF supported inclusive schools programme enables schools to learn how to identify real barriers that prevent children from participating and learning. It also gives them the space to be innovative to create tools and methods to help overcome barriers
For most of the teachers in the Brothers Ramiz and Hamid primary school in Shuto Orizari in Skopje, inclusive education practices is still a new and experimental approach. Like most teachers and school staff in the country, they have been more accustomed to following prescriptive approaches written in polices and legislation. However, thanks to the training they received through the UNICEF supported inclusive education programme, they now appreciate that one-size does not fit all children.
In the spirit of being innovative and developing tailored approaches, Denis Osmani, a young teacher from the school, developed an e-tool, with ready available IT programmes, to help teachers and school staff engage and stay connected on the individual progress of children who need support in learning.
Using what he has learned from the training, the e-tool is used to document and monitor the individualized educational programmes that the school’s inclusive team has developed for some 230 children.
“The idea for this e-tool came from the actual need for it. We are a very big school with some 150 teachers. It is difficult, if not impossible to coordinate among ourselves directly,” Osmani says.
“Despite the fact that we were sceptical about using it in the beginning, we gave it a try to honour Denis’s enthusiasm and efforts. We are glad we did, because now, we see that it really is the best way to share and learn from each other,” says Biljana Ivanoska, a class teacher.
Ivanoska explains that it has helped her learn from her peers, about approaches that have worked and that she can replicate. She also benefits from being able to monitor the progress of the children in her class and share the results with the rest of her colleagues.
The innovative use of technology in the Brothers Ramiz and Hamid School is also getting the attention of other teachers in the network of twenty inclusive schools. Many of them, trained in implementing practices based on the principles of inclusive education, are already looking into how they can introduce the e-tool in their respective schools.
Like Brothers Ramiz and Hamid primary school in Shuto Orizari in Skopje, many others in the network are developing grass roots approaches to include all children and get them learning. Read how “Goce Delcev” Primary School from Prilep adapted the curriculum to the needs visual impairment children.
The UNICEF supported inclusive education programme was introduced in 2012 as a pilot initiative in 12 schools to build the capacity of schools to support inclusion of all children, including children with disabilities and children with other special education needs. Since initiated, the programme has expanded to 20 schools, including seven in Roma communities which are supported by the Austrian Development Agency.