PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is considering a plan to start inclusive education in general schools to enable the special children to study along with normal students and become useful citizen, according to sources.
“We have presented a concept to Chief Secretary Dr Kazim Niaz about inclusive education for special children as well as their rehabilitation,” Dr Mahboobur Rehman, a former head of physiotherapy department at Hayatabad Medical Complex, told this scribe.
He said that a comprehensive plan was also being chalked put in collaboration with social welfare department to help the special children.
“We are also in touch with the education department to implement a plan whereby the children with autism, cerebral palsy and those affected by polio could learn along with normal students in the same classrooms and become useful citizens of the society,” he said.
Physiotherapist says concept of inclusive education presented to chief secretary
Dr Rehman, who has launched the first inclusive education school in 2016, said that he had shared his experience with chief secretary and informed him that inclusive education made the children with disabilities useful members of society.
“This concept, if applied, can enable the disabled children to be enrolled along with normal students in government as well as private schools,” he said. He added that government could ask the private schools to give admission to specific number of physically challenged children so that they could learn with normal students and participate in learning together.
Dr Rehman said that the chief secretary also desired to visit Khushal Bagh Public School (KBPS), the first inclusive school in Peshawar. He said that disabled people needed services to improve their life style and reduce their dependency on others for carrying out routine work.
“Our first training is to enable the special children on how to hold pen, change clothes, wear socks and shoes and attend bathrooms,” he said. He added that inclusive education gained worldwide currency where people with disabilities were training on how to drive vehicles through modification to ensure their accessibilities through changing patterns and alternation.
Dr Rehman said that inclusive education could play an important role in educating the people suffering from cerebral palsy and autism besides slow learners and mild physically challenged children.
“The government’s response is highly encouraging towards the implementation of the plan. The country has about 10 per cent people with disabilities who become burden on their families and society only because they do not get education,” he said.
Dr Rehman, who is chairman of Habib Physiotherapy Complex, said that special children required an environment where they could be given exercises, behavioural therapy and psychotherapy sessions prior to putting them with normal students.
“In this system, the students are encouraged and socially included in the normal stream. Social inclusion is possible. They are not prone to inferiority complex. This is a wonderful solution for these children,” he said.
Dr Rehman said that he also informed chief secretary that he in his capacity as provincial coordinator of rehabilitation services in health department had helped the government to start physiotherapy services in 25 district hospitals that were later replicated in former Fata.
Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2020