Writes Tafadzwa Muranganwa
A United States-based academic, Professor Morgan Chitiyo has proffered recommendations on how Zimbabwe can improve on inclusive education.
The University of North Carolina Lecturer Professor Morgan Chitiyo told this publication that there was a need for all teachers to be capacitated on special education knowledge.
“Everything should start with teacher preparation and the country needs to start investing that all teachers be acquainted with inclusive education. This entails that all pre-service teacher candidates need to take some classes related to special education so that they understand how to teach students with disabilities,” opines Prof Chitiyo.
The revered educationist highlighted how it is important to have disability-friendly infrastructure for learners with disabilities.
“It is the responsibility of the State to provide the necessary accommodations that are necessary to ensure that children with disabilities receive an appropriate education. Such accommodations may include changes to; the instructional environment, how the teacher presents information in class, how the student completes assignments, the amount of time allowed for the student to complete assignments, and where the student completes the assignments.
“Such accommodations can enable learners with disabilities to overcome barriers that may arise from their disability and therefore promote their educational success,” added the top academic.
He also spoke about how the government should avail assistive technologies to help students with disabilities.
“Assistive technologies are necessary for the successful education of learners with disabilities and these should be provided for by the State,” states Prof Chitiyo.
Professor Chitiyo is a holder of a Ph.D. in Applied Behaviour Analysis, from Tennessee Technological University, an MBA from Tennesee Technological University B.A.Ed, Africa University, and has done several research and publications on Positive Behaviour Support, Autism, Inclusive Education, and Special education professional development for school teachers.
The country’s amended Education Act, dating to 2019, now requires government authorities to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities are protected in all schools in the country.
Furthermore, the Secretary for Education’s directive for inclusive education ‘requires schools to provide equal access to education for learners with disabilities, routinely screen for any form of disability, and admit any school-age child, regardless of ability’.
There are very special schools in Zimbabwe and most of them are not affordable to ordinary citizens.