Implementing Inclusive Education in Niger: A Challenge for All to Tackle
In order to achieve Education For All (EFA) in Niger, we need to address the question of schooling for children with disabilities and other groups of children who are often excluded from and within the education system. It is in that context that Handicap International (HI) has initiated a project for the implementation of inclusion education in Niamey the capital of Niger. To contribute to the schooling of children with disabilities in an education system that includes all children and offers appropriate pedagogical responses to their special needs, the inclusive education project in Niger must encourage all its partners to collect information and ideas regarding schooling of children, especially children with disabilities from both individual and institutional stakeholders. One idea that has been adopted is to develop operational tools for key stakeholders that Introduces a sequence of activities necessary to provide children and youth with disabilities access to school, but also helping them to stay in school and complete their education. The tool includes a sequence of 6 activities: 1) children mapping; 2) socio-medical assessment; 3) awareness raising; 4) training; 5) school orientation; 6) monitoring. This tool will also allow field actors and partners to capitalize on their experiences and share good practices with each other. However, the implementation of the inclusive education approach, requires active participation and capacity building of all main stakeholders, from the central ministry level, to school levels, including teachers and parents. Like any change or introduction of a new approach, inclusive education will need time, effort and willingness in order to succeed. One way to facilitate the active involvement of children in school is through the organization of children discussion groups. This activity allows children with and without disabilities to communicate with each other and express their ideas on what needs to be improved to ensure educational and social inclusion in schools. It also contributes to get children closer together, regardless of disabilities and backgrounds, and gives education stakeholders information about what children with disabilities need to succeed in school. The next step is to put in place favourable conditions for children with disabilities to ensure that can participate in education. Priority action here is teacher training on two fundamental aspects: perception of disabilities and educational approaches for children with disabilities. With these basic notions, teachers will firstly become willing to welcome children with disabilities into their classroom, and secondly, be able to respond appropriately to their education needs.
Mr. Josée Lemire, Inclusive Education Project Manager for HI Programme in Niamey, Niger. E-mail: