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Nowadays, inclusion is given a lot of importance especially within the educational sector. The main aim of inclusion is to embrace all individuals irrespective of their gender, colour, race, religion, disability or any other need. Apart from this, educators need to support students within various aspects such as: physical, intellectual, social and linguistic conditions.

Hence, nowadays all students should be; freely, open accommodated and have active participation without any restrictions or limitations. This is being stipulated as a human right. Therefore, since segregation is constantly being decreased, students are attending in mainstream schools. In fact, Malta has one of the lowest segregated rates within the European Union countries. This is resulting in an effective way to prevent discrimination and intolerance; thus, this helps to build up an inclusive society.

Malta is giving equal opportunities to all students. However, inclusion brings several challenges within the education, because these systems must be constantly adjusted to meet the various needs of the different children. Therefore, equality is important, but we also need to focus on how to promote quality and equity education, because there is no one-size-fits-all!

There are times where equality is also hindering the abilities of the students. These diverse needs are not often met due to lack of time and human resources. In a class you might have low-ability students who require a lot of help and attention, while at the same time the educator must cater for all the other different abilities present in class. The same thing happens to the gifted students who sometimes are not challenged enough. A possible solution to face this problem might be; reducing the number of children in a classroom, so that each student can be given the right attention from the teacher, therefore everyone would have the opportunity to succeed at his/her own best.

It is also of a big necessity to have all the adequate resources to accommodate children with special needs so that the number of barriers is minimised, and support is given to them to be able to continue progress in their daily tasks. For instance, educators, especially learning support educators should be given the appropriate training. Hence, they will be able to support better students with special needs that require daily therapy. Such sessions can be carried out in multisensory rooms.

Unfortunately, very few schools have multisensory rooms. This would be of a great benefit, where every individual can experience a variety of calming effects, stimulation, socialization, improved focus, motor skills development, cognitive development and sensory development. All these rooms must be well equipped to respond to the different challenging needs of the students. That way, children with special needs would have all the required resources and care, while attending mainstream schools at the same time.

In my opinion, another important factor for inclusion is the environment, which of course one must ensure that it is inclusive. Meaning, that public places like schools, must meet the diverse needs of people who have the necessity in using them. Such systems and accessibilities may include; elevators, ramps, signage, directions and adapted toilet facilities. Moreover, one needs to ensure that the correct set up and adequate spacing is taken into consideration when having students with a mobility impairment who make use of a wheelchair, crutches or any other assistive technology. By this means we will continue to create a fair society and a sustainable future with the correct environment.

Therefore, the main aim of educators is to prepare all children to become lifelong learners, confident, successful, creative, connected, and engaged in the community and the world around them but the most important thing is that they become independent. Therefore, education is essential for them to help them attain the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes so that they can succeed further in their life with nothing to obstacle them.

 

Dorcas Camilleri

LEAD Participant

Aqsam ma' ħaddieħor

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