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Tell me about what you do professionally.
My name is Jasper Eric Catan and I am from Negros Oriental, Philippines. I currently am working as the officer in charge in the office of the dean of Foundation University, College of Education. Since I took the helm, I have personally shared to our faculty the essence of inclusion. As a matter of fact, we are currently in talks on integrating inclusive strategies and principles of inclusion in all professional education subjects. I see inclusion not just on the perspective of children with disabilities but the diversity of learners. In college, we deal with very different kinds of students ranging form self-support students, to parent-students, students with physical disabilities and students who are struggling financially. This effort should not only raise awareness but invite students to act in addressing diversity in the classroom.
I see inclusion not just on the perspective of children with disabilities but the diversity of learners.
How do you assess the implementation of inclusive education for children with disabilities in the region you work in?
The teachers in our locality seem to have difficulties in implementing inclusive education because of lack of knowledge, training, and support. A lot of teachers do not appreciate inclusion. When I asked one teacher of an elementary school, she said that it’s an additional burden to them. I attribute such misnomer to their lack of understanding of inclusion. Inclusion is more on cooperation than individual expertise. Teachers are also very overwhelmed by the amount of work they have – from preparing the lessons to making achievement reports and whatnot.
Inclusion is more on cooperation than individual expertise.
What do you think are the needs of pre-service and in-service teachers in the move towards inclusive education for children with disabilities?
I think both in-service and pre-service teachers need regular training. Not just once in 3 or 5 years especially that the concept of inclusive education is relatively new. Furthermore, government and administrative support is of vital importance for all inclusive related works to be done. Inclusion would never be successful if the number of students in each classroom ranges from 50 to 60 or even more; if the teachers are given so much work and responsibilities; if good teachers continue to leave our country for a better pay. The list would just keep going but it would be shortened if the government and school administration just start thinking of the outcomes than the process.