Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1412, (4 - 10 October 2018)
Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Issue 1412, (4 - 10 October 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Differently enabled

Students with special needs are getting more attention, reports Reem Leila


On 1 October President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi inaugurated the three-day Arab Forum for Students with Special needs and Integration in the Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh.

Some LE500 million from the Tahia Misr Fund (Long Live Egypt) has been allocated to support students with special needs. “The money will be delivered to the Ministry of Education to fund programmes for students with special needs,” Al-Sisi told forum participants.

The president also said the government had provided 5,000 people with special needs with job opportunities and the Ministry of Defence has been commissioned to set up a centre to cater for their needs.

Minister of Education Tarek Shawki said his ministry was working with schools to provide suitable training for special needs students so they could better integrate in society. The Education Ministry is working with the Ministry of Communication to create a dedicated space in all public schools for students with special needs.

Injy Mashhour, Shawki’s assistant for special needs, says that of the 10 million people with special needs in Egypt two million are enrolled in schools. Ministerial Decree 252 /2009, amended in 2015,  requires public schools to offer special classes for special needs pupils with a maximum of four students in each class.

“Integration will take place gradually throughout the coming few years,” said Mashhour. Already 22,000 teachers have been trained in teaching special needs children.

 “The Ministry of Education has signed a memorandum of understanding with UNICEF to integrate students with special needs in schools in seven governorates, including Giza, Cairo and Beni Sweif,” said Mashhour.

The ministry has also initiated the nationwide “They can, but differently” campaign to increase awareness of the importance of integrating students with special needs in normal schools among parents and students.

“There are 1,200 students who have already been integrated at the ministry’s technical schools, studying specialties such as decoration, computer science and electronics,” said Mashhour. “Our aim is to help them find employment after graduation.”

The Ministry of Education has also allocated 10 classes for students with multi-disabilities in Cairo and Giza.

“The students began their academic studies this year,” said Mashhour. In addition, the Ministry of Education, in cooperation with the Ministry of Higher Education, is providing 20 scholarships at private universities for students with special needs.

In April last year President Al-Sisi designated 2018 as the year of people with special needs.

An exhibition showcasing craft work by students with special needs from Egypt, Kuwait and Bahrain was held alongside the forum. Among the exhibitors was Youssef Matta, 12, a student at Al-Ansar Preparatory School in Cairo. Matta exhibited a portrait of Al-Sisi. He is currently petitioning the government to send him abroad for medical treatment that will enable him to walk again.

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