The Egyptian Ministry of Education and Technical Education in cooperation with UNCIEF and the British Embassy in Egypt launched a new transformative education system for students with disabilities.
In order to develop the capabilities of special-need students, the Egyptian government has launched many initiatives in order to propagate their independence and social participation. The special needs curriculum will be followed in various locations, including in resource rooms, in special classes (in regular public schools), and in specialised schools called Schools for Special Needs Education.
Inclusive and special education have been at the centre of conversation at an event hosted by the Ministry of Education together with its partners.
Trying to integrate people with special needs into society, the function has created three key strategic guides for inclusive and special education: the Special Education Curriculum Frameworks, the Guidelines for the Adaptation and Accommodation of Learning Materials for the Children with Sensory Disabilities, and the Teachers Guide on Inclusive Education, all developed on the basis of Egypt’s Education 2.0 (EDU 2.0).
Supporting disabled children, the new curricula are designed for public school for special needs students aged four to third grade. Special education school teachers have also been trained in these curricula, and paper and digital educational materials will be prepared for students with sensory disabilities.
“Children will be taught sign language as a primary language like Arabic and English in all schools starting September,” said Education Minister Tarek Shawki.
The ministry has also established a rehabilitation centre for people with disabilities, and is considered one of the largest of its kind in the Middle East, with services provided for children with cognitive and sensory disabilities as well as children with autism and attention deficit disorder.
Shawki pointed out that the latest education reforms – under the guidance of EDU 2.0 – has been in collaboration with a number of international experts, UNICEF, and the Faculty of Disability Sciences and Rehabilitation in Zagazig University.
As part of the EDU 2.0. reform process, the Centre of Curriculum and Instructional Material Development of the Education Ministry, its partners, and with solid input from the Ministry’s Central Department of Special Education, has developed three references that provide knowledge and guidance for textbook publishers and education practitioners on developing and adapting both paper-based and digital learning tools for various types of mentally and physically challenged students. under EDU 2.0, schools will be adopting more inclusive teaching methods that enhance a student’s cognitive and non-cognitive skills acquisition.
“We are proud that UK resources have been able to contribute to an important milestone for education reform in Egypt, and with this timely intervention, differently-abled children are being empowered to reach their full potential, and contribute to their communities,” said Sir Geoffrey Adams, the British Ambassador to Egypt.
These resources will act as pivotal references for education staff working in inclusive and special education schools across Egypt. They were developed thanks to the support of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office through the project “Integrated Education Services for Vulnerable and Marginalised Children in Egypt,” which provides focused assistance in selected schools in the form of improving physical environments and training school teachers and supervisors to advance the quality of education service delivery.
“It gives me immense pleasure to be here today with all of you as we gather to first acknowledge the unpreceded vision of the ministry of education to ensure that Education 2.0 reaches all children, including the most vulnerable, particularly children with special needs and those who are put of schools,” said Bruno Maes, UNICEF Representatives in Egypt.
He asserted that Egypt, UNICEF, and the European Union were able to assist more than 4,500 children with mild disabilities go to regular public schools together with their peers to learn and play, while this inclusive model also created a better schooling environment for more than 75,000 children overall.