The international community agrees: every individual who has a disability — no matter the nature of the disability — has the right to education. According to the latest National Population and Housing Census, about 513,321 people – two percent of the population – has a disability in Nepal. Inclusive Education is a process intended to respond to students’ diversity including those with disabilities, by increasing their participation and reducing exclusion within and beyond the classroom context.
Multi-Grade teaching refers to the situation where a single teacher teaches more than one grade or age group. In Nepal, Multi-Grade teaching served as a temporary adjustment in remote and sparsely populated areas to cover teachers’ absence.
In order to integrate concepts and methodologies of Inclusive Education and Multi-Grade teaching into teaching method courses, a two-day workshop was jointly organized on 17 and 18 July by UNESCO and the Faculty of Education of Tribhuvan University, a leading institution in the field of teacher education in Nepal. Over 44 participants took part in the workshop facilitated by Prof. Chitra B. Budhathoki.
Chairperson of the opening ceremony, Netra Prasad Dhital, Dean of the Faculty of Education, highlighted current Inclusive Education and Multi-Grade teacing provisions and practices. According to Dhital, Workshop participants’ recommendations and suggestions will be reflected in the University’s future curriculum.
Prof. Min Bahadur Bista shared his views and experiences on Inclusive Education and Multi-Grade teaching while sketching out best-practices in several countries. He highlighted the complexity and importance of integrating Inclusive Education and preparing teachers to tackle such concept. Prof. Bista explained how Multi-Grade teaching is an indigenous practice in many world regions which however needs to be revisited according to a country’s own experience and cultural practices. He argued that it is important to think about ‘who’ to teach along with ‘what’ and ‘how’ to teach. It is vital to examine the skills, knowledge, attitudes, values and competences needed by teachers to promote inclusive settings.
Tap Raj Pant from UNESCO introduced recent studies on Inclusive Education and Multi-Grade teaching and designed ways to integrate these concepts into teachers’ preparation courses. He also raised the question whether the Faculty of Educcations’s teacher preparation is content oriented (teacher education) or pedagogical oriented (teacher training).
Presentations by Prof. Basu D. Kafle, focusing on inclusive education, and by Prof. Ganesh B. Singh on Multi-Grade teaching in Nepal opened the floor to discussions. Following the dissemination of research findings, group work and presentations focused on how to incorporate Inclusive Education to teachers’ preparation curriculum.
UNESCO constantly supports national efforts to enhance the capacities of teachers and programme implementers, particularly in promoting Inclusive Educationand Multi-lingual Education.