..may establish schools for the education and care of the disabled and schools for special education in a way that matches their abilities and aptitudes." This article takes us back to the idea of isolation not integration, by establishing special schools for the disabled. This is a possibility, not an obligation, in accordance with the Minister of Education's inclinations and preferences." (Fekry, Saeed, and Thabet, 2006) It is stated in Article 14 that conditions of medical fitness "...should be required for acceptance in all age stages." (Fekry, Saeed, and Thabet, 2006) Specifically stated are the following:
(1) Article no. 1 states "The provisions of the child law shall be applicable and any other provision contradicting with the provisions of the said law shall be abrogated."
(2) Article no. 54 indicates "Free education in the schools of the state is a right of all children."
(3) Article no. 133 states "The child shall enroll in elementary education at the age of six; the state shall provide necessary space to intake the children at school age; and the parents shall apply for their children at this educational stage and ensure their regular attendance during the years of this stage according to the previous laws."
(4) Article no. 165 indicates "All Children who apply for enrollment in special education schools and classes shall be referred to the appropriate medical unit for general and specialized medical examinations, aptitude tests and hearing measures, to verify the type and level of disability and the level of mental abilities, sensual and physical aspects, and the family and environmental conditions of these children. Detailed reports on each case, including the results of these examinations, tests and studies shall be presented to the appropriate technical committee and filed in the relevant file of each child. Children are accepted, based on these examinations, at the special education schools and classes appropriate to their case, given that this is done sufficient time before the study." (Fekry, Saeed, and Thabet, 2006)
According to Fekry, Saeed, and Thabet this legislation does not contain an objective on the part of legislators for integration of disabled children in mainstream classrooms. Fekry, Saeed and Thabet additionally state that the SETI Center in Egypt is implementing a five-year project in collaboration with the Ministry of Education that is focused toward the integration of children with special needs in five governorates and 15 public schools and that the project is inclusive of the following elements:
(1) Training is offered periodically to teachers, with cooperation from the Ministry of Education and the General Administration for Special Education at the Ministry;
(2) Special education teachers serve as assistants to the teachers inside the integrated classes;
(3) Teaching methodologies have been modified so information is delivered using a variety of approaches;
(4) Social workers were trained to select and assess students for acceptance in schools (5) Awareness of other pupils in the class was raised
(6) The school environment was prepared to accept the children through adequate awareness; and (7) Support groups of children were formed. (Fekry, Saeed, and Thabet, 2006)
ISSUES & CHALLENGES
The work of Emily Gaad (2004) entitled: "Cross-cultural Perspective on the Effect of Cultural Attitudes Towards Inclusion for children with Intellectual Abilities" states of inclusive education that it is a "...form of educational services offered to children with special educational needs is an international phenomenon." Gaad states that great difficulty presents in the attempt to "....discuss educational services offered to children with intellectual disabilities or any form of disabilities without reflecting on the tenets of each society's traditional life and attitudes. It is only through such reflection that one can understand and appreciate the common conceptualization of intellectual disability." (2004)
This is because the community's attitude toward those with disabilities will effectively impact the provisions made for these individuals. Gaad (2004) goes on to relate that in ancient Egypt "... A state council of inspectors examined neonates. If they suspected that a child was 'defective' in any way, the infant was thrown from a cliff to its death. By the second century AD, individuals with intellectual disabilities, including children who lived throughout...
Christianity led to a decline in these barbaric practices and a movement toward care for the less fortunate; in fact, all of the early religious leaders, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and Confucius, advocated humane treatment for the 'mentally retarded', 'developmentally disabled' or 'infirm'." (Gaad, 2004)
That which drives human behavior is stated by Gaad (2004) to be "attitudes" and this is stated to be due to the belief of both individuals and groups as well as what is felt concerning a matter which ultimately "....determines what we do with respect to it." (Gaad, 2004) Presently there is a "widespread acceptance and support for raising youngsters with intellectual disabilities at home and having them participate in a variety of activities as part of community integration, rather than placement in institutional settings. This has an impact on early intervention as it was believed that it is preferable to begin working with a child as soon as possible after birth." (Gaad, 2004) However, in the UK it is "...difficult to offer a single UK perspective on inclusion due to differences in the legal basis of education in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, as well as regional differences within these countries related to different politics and policy." (Gaad, 2004)
It is additionally related in the work of Gaad (2004) that there are "...few, if any, schools in England which include all the children from a neighborhood, defined as the catchment area of the school. Recent research indicates that the inclusion of children with Down's syndrome which is one of the most common examples of intellectual disabilities was widely accepted as being educationally and socially possible at primary level, but it is secondary schools that are presumed to present barriers that were difficult to surmount." (Gaad, 2004)
In fact, all throughout Africa "...those with intellectual disabilities are still seen as hopeless and helpless. African culture and beliefs have not made matters easier" and this is stated to be due to the fact that disabilities in Africa are associated with "witchcraft, juju, sex-linked factors, God-mediated and super sensible forces. Avoiding whatever is associated with evil historically affected people's attitudes toward those with disabilities simply because disability is associated with evil. Most of these negative attitudes are misconceptions that stem from a lack of proper understanding of disabilities and how they affect functioning. They stem directly from the traditional systems of thought, which reflect magical -- religious philosophies that can be safely called superstition. Chances of inclusion, and other forms of educational services for such children, are affected by the construction of society, as well as traditional values and beliefs." (Gaad, 2004)
According to Gaad (2004) "When four Egyptian parents of school-age children with mild-to-moderate intellectual disabilities were asked about how culture can affect their children's inclusion in regular classrooms, many revealed their concerns about how society looks at their children and how that can affect educational decisions. A mother of a 10-year-old girl with an IQ of 65 attending a local school for children with intellectual challenges said that her daughter was in such a school because that was how society placed and categorized her. Although she did not like the idea of marginalizing her child in such a school, she accepted that choice because that was what everybody else in her situation would do" Gaad states that another mother of a child with Down's syndrome who was the age of 9 years old stated that "...all children like her son attended that school. The family was lucky to have a place there, she revealed. When she was asked her if she wanted her child to be in a regular school, the mother stated that she knew he would never be in a regular school as it was not an available option, and she did not think her child ever would be." (Gaad, 2004)
Gaad (2004) relates that the key agents of change are "teachers" and that what teachers "...do on a day-to-day basis does make a profound difference." However, the problem that exists is that may of the teachers have not been well prepared to meets the needs of the students with disabilities and particularly in terms of meeting those needs in the mainstream classroom settings. (Gaad, 2004, paraphrased) Gaad reports having interviewed an experienced classroom teacher for the UK who expressed that inclusion of children with certain intellectual disabilities in the classroom quite simply "was not a great experience. Moreover, the teacher stated that "...despite her beliefs of his rights to be in a normal school with other children, timing, resources and one-to-one teaching was very demanding for an already overwhelmed teacher who had 24 other pupils in the classroom. She revealed that attitudes had changed towards the inclusion of a child in a regular classroom. Twenty years ago,…
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