Public schools lack infrastructure suited to students with disabilities

Students gather at a public school in Jordan. (File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — A study published by the Jordanian Coalition for Education shows that most public schools in less privileged areas lack the infrastructure needed by students with disabilities. اضافة اعلان

“Rented schools, particularly, are not prepared to receive students with disabilities, which affects the possibility of having inclusive learning,” the study said.

The Ministry of Education’s Director of Buildings and International Projects Ibraheem Al-Samamah told Jordan News that rented schools were not meant to be a permanent solution, noting that the ministry is working on a 10-year plan to replace these schools with new establishments owned by the government that can accommodate students with disabilities, thus becoming inclusive.

“Out of 4,004 public schools 750 are rented; in 10 years, we will be able to replace them all,” Samamah said.

Rented schools were not built to be schools in the first place, he said, but “whenever the ministry becomes aware that there are students with disabilities, they work together with the lessor to make them as suitable as possible for them”.

The new schools have to accommodate all types of disabilities, said Samamah, adding that “many of the current schools are inclusive and the process of making them more suitable is never ending”.

Saleh Al-Omari, head of the Irbid Education Directorate, told Jordan News that “we have four schools suitable to receive students with disabilities; two are inclusive, two are special schools for students with specific disabilities, like vision impairment, or deaf or hard of hearing”.

“In the Ministry of Education’s plan, 10 inclusive schools are to be inaugurated in the upcoming years; three of them will be built in Irbid,” Omari said.

According to the Jordanian Coalition for Education study, “another issue is that teachers lack social awareness when it comes to accepting differences, which makes it harder to accept children with disabilities”.

Omari said that “the ministry does hold training programs frequently for teachers who deal directly with students with disabilities, especially in inclusive schools”.

The study also said that overcrowdedness is “an important issue that affects the learning outcome in public schools”.

At the same time, “children from lower-income households are less likely to attend school due to the indirect costs, like uniforms and transportation”, the study also showed.

Teachers were not spared, either. The study noted that 62.9 percent of the participants attributed public school students’ poor performance to the lack of proper teachers training.

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