Ministry moves on vision to expand inclusive education

The Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC) is expanding inclusive education practices to schools, across both urban and rural areas in Samoa.

Yesterday, representatives from MESC met with the Moata’a community to discuss an Inclusive Education Champion School partnership.

Leota Valma Galuvao, ACEO Curriculum, Design and Material Division of MESC, said the number of children with disabilities enrolling in regular schools is increasing in Samoa.

“The inclusive education unit in the Ministry continues to work steadfastly in their endeavor to build a work force competent to ensure inclusive education across our schools,” she said.

Establishing an Inclusive Champion school is included in the Inclusive Education Policy Implementation Plan focusing on empowering teachers to improve the extensiveness of their schools and classrooms so that all children can benefit.

“Key features such as school leadership, the effective role of Parent Teacher Association and the local community working together to enhance learning opportunities for students are integral to the success of the champion school model for inclusive education,” said Leota.

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“This includes having a reading programme where parents come to the school to read with students, having a school garden as a result of collaboration effort. Also the local community’s assistance in remodeling classrooms and other teaching space is a salient feature of the school,” she said.

Under the leadership of Principal, Mr. Tito, Moata’a Primary schoolteachers have been attending regular training to be able to cater to different student learning styles.

“They are working to address each student’s learning needs, modify and differentiate the curriculum as needed when students find it difficult to learn,” he said.

The teachers are expected to share their knowledge with the next champion schools through staff training, building capacity for inclusive education in Samoa with the benefit of using local skilled teachers while also ensuring sustainability.

One of the participants, Koreti Ioane, who is the President of Moata’a PTA, said this is was such an important session with MESC.

“We thank MESC for coming to us, to talk about this and this is a big step forward for our schools also.

“All children are the not the same but as a parent and as a teacher, we should be able to see them any differently, we should treat them all the same, so why not have children with disabilities in regular schools,” she said.

Moata’a Primary School is a great example of how inclusive educational practices benefit all students and the ministry plans to include more schools.

Inclusive Education requires that every child has the right to learn, every child is included in the learning process, teachers and teaching staff may need to change and modify their teaching style, lesson plans and assessment to increase student participation and meet the learning needs of all students.

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