University of Makeni - Department for Special Education
University of Makeni – Department for Special Education
University of Makeni Offering Special Educational Needs Training
Since UNIMAK’s foundation in 2005, Special Education has been developing steadily. The Special Education Department has caught the interest of many Sierra Leonean and international educationalists. The Department is answering a vital need: the development of special education in the country. The government, with the passing of The Disability Act into Law, wishes to see that justice and the rights of vulnerable citizens are protected. Education is basic to the development for all human beings. UNIMAK is offering expertise to help ensure that those who need special methods to achieve learning will have the professional help required.
Currently the University offers:
- For Specialist Teachers- Certificate, Diploma and Bachelors in Special Education (Hearing Impaired),
- For Mainstream Teachers- Introduction to Special Needs Education Certificate.
International experts along with two qualified and trained local lecturers, continue to implement and update the special education courses at UNIMAK.
In 2012- 2013 academic year, specialised courses, will be launch for teachers of the Visually Impaired.
A course for Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCO) also begins next semester for teachers in mainstream schools. They will be trained to identify and support special needs children.
The lack of teachers who are trained to teach students with SENs
There are very few trained teachers in the country who are qualified in special education. There are many young students in primary and secondary school who live with disabilities and need special help to be able to learn. Teachers with training in Special Education are essential if students with disability are to have their right to quality education.
UNIMAK wishing to provide expertise in training specialist teachers
Aware of the Government’s recent passing into law The Disability Act, and that plans are being made at the National level to see its implementation, UNIMAK wishes to take an active part in supporting this endeavour. The University of Makeni has experts in Special Education. The Department is up and running, having already trained 150 persons in Special Education. As well as teachers and lecturers, social workers, health and police personnel, carers and others working with people with special needs in the country also require professional training. UNIMAK is uniquely qualified to provide this important service.
Teachers with Special Education Certificate-Training without WASSCE
Accreditation of Prior Education Learning(APEL) is granted in UK, USA and other countries. It seems necessary to consider giving T.C., HTC teachers, with years of experience in special schools the opportunity to enter into university in order not to lose very capable teachers with experience now serving in special schools.
The Tertiary Education Commission rightly demands WASSCE for candidates entering University. There needs to be an interim way to accredit the prior learning of those who have given good teaching for years in special schools.
Low level of teacher’s basic education after on completion of teacher training in Higher Education Institutions
The majority of teachers entering the profession in recent years do not have the WASSCE credits needed to enter into university. They may be excellent dedicated teachers with many years teaching children with special needs but their basic education is often very weak. These blocks put SENs’ immediate development in jeopardy at the national level. The situation needs to be addressed. The immediate future of special education in the country depends on finding a solution to this problem. Would APEL be an interim solution that can be considered, albeit with a caveat that the University will not award any diploma or degree unless the minimum standards in literacy and numeracy are met? These two subjects are the main stumbling blocks preventing children with special educational needs from receiving quality teaching and education.
UNIMAK aims to provide expertise to support SNEs training
At The University of Makeni the overall aim is to meet the needs of the nation that are not already met. SENs Training is still in its infancy. UNIMAK can provide the specialists and the courses needed for this great need in the country.