Stu­dent teach­ers shun spe­cial needs train­ing

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Nqo­bile Tshili Chron­i­cle Cor­re­spon­dent

THE Gov­ern­ment has be­moaned the de­cline in the num­ber of stu­dent teach­ers en­rolled for spe­cial needs ed­u­ca­tion and said more teacher’s col­leges need to en­rol peo­ple for the spe­cialised train­ing.

The United Col­lege of Ed­u­ca­tion in Bu­l­awayo is the only in­sti­tu­tion in the coun­try that of­fers spe­cial needs ed­u­ca­tion train­ing.

There has been a grad­ual de­cline in the num­ber of grad­u­ates in the spe­cialised sec­tor for the past three years. Higher and Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion, Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pro­fes­sor Jonathan Moyo re­cently said it was wor­ry­ing that spe­cial needs ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers con­tinue to de­crease.

He was speak­ing at the UCE graduation cer­e­mony where 423 stu­dents grad­u­ated last week.

“While the num­ber is no­table, it is how­ever, dis­ap­point­ing that the num­ber of spe­cial needs ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers pro­duced by this col­lege has gone down from 67 in 2013 to 56 in 2014, 43 in 2015 and 26 in 2016. This can’t be a good story. Among other rea­sons for this de­cline I’m told is due to chal­lenges in the grant­ing of man­power devel­op­ment leave to serv­ing teach­ers,” Prof Moyo said.

He said teacher train­ing col­leges need to be in­volved in the teach­ing of spe­cial needs ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers as UCE can­not do it alone.

“The an­tic­i­pated in­crease of 2 000 schools means that the coun­try will need at least 10 287 spe­cial needs teach­ers. It is ob­vi­ous that UCE and its sis­ter col­leges have a for­mi­da­ble chal­lenge be­fore them to pro­duce the re­quired min­i­mum num­ber of spe­cial needs ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers,” the Min­is­ter said.

Prof Moyo said his Min­istry was in the process of for­mu­lat­ing a pol­icy to ca­pac­i­tate peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties so that they can have ac­cess to higher and ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion as en­shrined in the coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion.

He said the pol­icy will ad­dress in­fras­truc­tural and so­cial chal­lenges af­fect­ing peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties.

“En­rol­ment cri­te­ria should in­clude a pro­por­tion of learn­ers with dis­abil­i­ties in line with the Dis­abil­ity Act. The coun­try’s uni­ver­si­ties, poly­tech­nics, teacher’s col­leges and in­dus­trial train­ing col­leges should be­come in­clu­sive ed­u­ca­tion sys­tems,” Prof Moyo said.

“In essence higher and ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion must be re­spon­sive to the di­verse needs of learn­ers to en­hance their po­ten­tial and en­able them to con­trib­ute mean­ing­fully to so­cio-eco­nomic devel­op­ment for their in­di­vid­ual and na­tional ben­e­fit”— @nqot­shili

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