9.1 Creating Educational Opportunities for Children with Special Needs: Inclusive education in Thailand

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SpeakerName: Dr. Samart Ratanasakorn, Senior Officer, Bureau of Special Education, Office of Basic Education, Ministry of Education, Thailand

Description: This presentation shared that changes in the quantity of children with special needs attending schools in Thailand is being witnessed, but the main challenge of achieving quality education remains. Increasing the enrolment rate of students with special needs to education is only the first indicator of success in the EFA-VI global campaign (ICEVI, 2006). A rights-based approach to the education of the children does not only emphasize enrolling as many students into schools as possible, but it also focuses on the quality of the children’s educational experience (UNICEF/UNESCO, 2007). Thus, this presentation highlighted that Thailand now needs to pay more attention to the learning experiences of students with special needs and not simply view educational placement as a silver bullet. It is vital that students receive appropriate and adequate support ensuring a level playing field with their non-disabled counterparts (ICEVI, 2006). This, however, cannot be achieved by Ministry of Education alone, and therefore, more collaboration between the Thai Government and mainstream society is recommended.