Educators want more access to public schools in Jamaica for children with disabilities

News, July 25 2011

Jamaica: A group of educators is calling on the Ministry of Education to urgently address the lack of access in public institutions for students who are living with disability.

The recommendation from the group is part of a long needs list the educators compiled during a two-week summer institute sponsored by the

Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation at the JTA’s head offices in Kingston.

The programme to help professionals identify special needs in the classroom ended on Friday.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, chairman of the special education committee of the JTA, Dr Polly Bowes-Howell, said access to public schools for students with physical and other disabilities needs to be addressed by the next academic year.

Bowes-Howell said she is hoping that the recommendations will be forwarded to the JTA resolutions committee so that they could be brought to the JTA’s annual general conference in August.

“We are going forward. We are going to be lobbying because of the urgency of the matters. We are going to have to fast-track those recommendations to make sure that the children going into grade seven benefit,” Bowes-Howell declared.

Two other areas that the group wants addressed are the screening of children entering grade one so that they can avoid the Alternative Secondary Transition Education Programme, and for guidance counselling programmes to be mandatory in all schools.


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