Education is the fundamental right to which every child is entitled. In Cambodia, however, a number of children are not able to attend school simply because they have disabilities. In hopes of integrating Children with Disabilities (referred to as CWDs hereafter) into regular schools, AAR Japan has been promoting Inclusive Education (IE) in Khsach Kandal District in Kandal Province surrounding the capital, Phnom Penh where we have targeted four elementary schools since February this year. For IE to become an entrenched part of the community, the existing status quo across the educational institution must be changed entirely. This includes awareness-raising, promoting understanding and cooperation on the community level. Teachers must be trained on basic knowledge about disability as well as particular teaching methods effective for CWDs. School buildings must also be designed in a way that facilitates the physical mobility of CWDs. The Cambodian government commenced its work on the promotion of IE in 2008. Nevertheless, the government has only channeled its limited resources to finance the IE programs in restricted areas due to the insufficient funding.
AAR Japan invited Associate Professor, Jun KAWAGUCHI from the Graduate School of Osaka University, to hold training-workshops to enhance the understanding of disability in the respective communities. How should IE be within the present context of Cambodia? How should any progressive steps be made for the better future for CWDs? We asked the professor to share his insights.
Jun KAWAGUCHI (Right) gives a lecture on IE.
(Khsach Kandal District, Cambodia, May 7th, 2015)