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)
Inclusive Education in the making“On this trip, I visited several schools and gave lectures on IE in Khsach Kandal District. I would like to share my experiences, observations as well as the future prospect for IE in this country.”
”My talk at the workshop centered around the very basics of IE to familiarize the attendees with the idea. School principals, community members, parents and government officials participated in the lecture and lively discussions. The participants were grounded in that they acknowledged the existing challenges and obstacles as opposed to being in denial or overly idealistic. The participants stressed the importance of strengthening the community as an agent of social change. Building upon the community-based approach, they brainstormed and considered a variety of possibilities to advance the quality of education. Meanwhile, it became apparent the immense dependency on international NGOs which necessitates the community to play a central role.”
|Students at Preah Prasob Primary School that AAR Japan works with.|
(April 27th, 2015)
Japanese-English translation by Ms. Karen Kubota and Ms. Sakura Koyama
This article has been translated by volunteers as part of the AAR Japan's Volunteer Programme. Their generous contributions allow us to spread our activities and ideas globally, through an ever-growing selection of our reports from the field.