Here at TELLAL we talk a lot about the importance of diversity in the classroom and the innate benefits offered by the inclusive classrooms of the UAE. Time and time again, studies have shown just how valuable diversity amongst students can be, in both their educational and personal upbringings.
Children who grow up in more inclusive and broad environments have access to different experiences and cultures that expand their own horizons in a multitude of ways. The Dubai Government recognises the potential of this trend and has set the goal of becoming a fully inclusive city by 2020, particularly within the education system.
To help us achieve this object Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) launched a guide in January of this year that aimed to enhance inclusive education in our schools. According it is mission statement; all private schools in Dubai will now have to commit to the formation of an inclusion support team that will aid the Senior Leadership in putting inclusive education into practice. As well as promoting continued cultural diversity, these groups will also champion the inclusion of and provisions for students of determination so that they can access institutions that otherwise might not have been possible. The adoption of more accessible practices for students of determination will not only benefit their educational futures, but add immense value to the students they will be in school with; helping them to understand the challenges others face and that fortitude, kindness and patience are at the heart of working together. Schools are also being asked to ignore traditional admittance practises when it comes to students of determination and shun medical assessments for a more open approach that will create life-defining experiences for those students and their families.
In reference to the new guide, Fatma Belrehif, the CEO of Dubai School Inspection Bureau at KHDA said, “We are aware of the challenges and opportunities in our journey towards building a fully-inclusive education system. The launch of this new guide for schools is a reflection of our commitment to scale-up efforts and enable schools to create a welcoming environment for everyone. This will only be possible when the entire school community values diversity and believes in creating engaging, relevant and meaningful experiences for students of determination.”
The guide offers advice on new procedures for assessment, intervention, support and resourcing and calls on school principals to work with school inclusion teams to:
- effectively communicate a vision of inclusion, ensuring the engagement of the entire school community
- develop and implement a comprehensive and strategic inclusive education improvement plan
- ensure staff are able to use inclusive education practices
- monitor and review progress of strategic plans
It is an amazing step forward in the inclusion of students of determination, especially those who may have been overlooked previously. These amazingly brave children have a huge amount to teach us and having them as part of an active, engaged and tolerant classroom can only benefit our students, our teachers and our schools.
Do you currently have students of determination in your school? How would you rate their experience? Are they able to join in enough activities, are they supported? In what ways have they contributed to the school, possibly in surprising ways? We would love to hear your thoughts on the initiative and what moves you think could be made to help at your school.
If you would like to find out more about the guide and the new rules being proposed, you can visit: https://www.khda.gov.ae/en/news/article?newsId=105292