Support Services for Disabled Students

Fifty educational courses will be held for teachers in the new academic year (starts September) so as to enhance their knowledge and skills in special education
 A total of 66,073 students are enrolled in more than 1,500 special needs institutions across the country. A total of 66,073 students are enrolled in more than 1,500 special needs institutions across the country.

For the first time last year (ended March 20), a program to provide support services to students with exceptional needs brought 5,574 students under its coverage.

Around $17.5 million (700 billion rials) was spent on surgeries and other support services including cochlear implants, hearing aids devices, spectacles, walkers and wheelchairs to special needs students.

“The scheme will be extended this year and efforts will be made to bring more students under its coverage,” said Majid Ghadami, head of the Education Ministry’s Organization for Education of Exceptional Needs Students, ISNA reported.  

Pointing to the organization’s plan to update teachers in this regard, he said 50 educational courses would be held for them in the new academic year (starts September) so teachers’ knowledge and skills in special education will be enhanced.

Exceptional needs students require special educational help because of their mental or physical disabilities. It is indeed a challenging task for educationists to assess children with intellectual disabilities, mobility issues or behavioral difficulties. The types of support that need to be provided upon starting school also depend on the individual needs of the child.

  Free Transport

Provision of free or discounted transportation to physically and mentally challenged students is an important achievement of the organization during the present (outgoing) government’s tenure, Ghadami said.

The services are essential to meet the criteria for access to free public education for all students, which is an important national goal. Earlier, transportation facilities for the differently-abled students had been neglected. Providing transport for special needs students is a top priority, since it assists a child with a disability to attend school.

In most of the developed countries support services (which are provided at public expense) are embedded in special education, as without the services many children with disabilities will not be motivated to go to school.

“At present, transportation services for special needs students in underprivileged regions is 100% free and in other areas they are charged 20-30% of the transport costs. Annually, $5.7 million (230 billion rials) is spent on providing free and discounted transport services to such students,” the official said.

 Statistics on Differently-Abled

In the current school year (started September 2016), more than 5,400 differently-abled students entered the first grade, of whom 224 were visually-impaired, 228 had hearing impairments, 150 had disability in walking or moving, 323 had autism or other emotional-behavioral complications, and 4,533 were mentally-disabled children.

A total of 66,073 students were enrolled in different grades in more than 1,500 special needs institutions across the country. Around 64,000 students with mild or moderate problems were also enrolled in regular schools.

Earlier, Ghadami had said 6 to 11 students with a single disability are usually placed in one classroom but the number of students with multiple disabilities is 3 to 4 per classroom. “The smaller number in each class helps teachers to provide more effective education. Teachers of special needs students also receive 15% extra wages than regular school teachers.”

The total number of students enrolled at all the three levels of primary, middle and high school, stands at 13.2 million, of whom 7.5 million students are registered in primary schools.

In the 2016 academic year, more than 130,000 students had enrolled in both special needs and regular schools (around 64,000 students with mild or moderate problems were enrolled in regular schools), Ghadami had said earlier.


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