Teachers split on including special needs pupils in class

National 1 minute, 8 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

PRIMARY school teachers in Brunei are split on whether special needs pupils should be included in regular classes.

This was the finding of a recent survey of 113 government educators.

The survey published in the Asian Journal of Education in February, revealed that 39.8 per cent of teachers felt that academically underachieving special needs pupils should join regular classes while 37.2 per cent disagreed.

The researchers said the survey – which sampled 18 out of 89 inclusive government primary schools in 2010 – indicates a sizeable number of teachers “are not willing to have children with diverse needs in their care”.

Despite this, the survey reported that teachers viewed inclusive education as having potential to bring up pupils’ social and communication skills, especially those with disciplinary problems.

The study, conducted by a teacher from Sekolah Rendah Tungku, Nurul Amirah Abdullah and Professor Okechukwu Abosi from Universiti Brunei Darussalam recommended specific training for teachers, specialised teacher assistants and the provision of resources which “gurantee equal participation” of those with special needs in regular classrooms.

The Special Education Unit at the Ministry of Education last month published two introductory guidebooks aimed at helping teachers and parents support children with hearing and visual impairments, while also announcing the completion of a six-month course for 80 teachers, who will be “focal persons” for parents and schools to refer to on any issues on student disabilities.

The Brunei Times