Ntamulung Church Centre Street- Below Acha Annex , Church Centre Bamenda
P.O. Box 140
WHO ARE WE?
ABOUT THE SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS TEACHERS’ TRAINING INSTITUTE (SENTTI) CAMEROON?
SENTTI is a Co-educational non-boarding Professional Inclusive Special Educational Needs Teacher’s Training Institution that is pioneering the ongoing development and implementation of the ‘Cameroon Inclusive Special Educational Needs Teachers Training and Empowerment Project/Programme (CISENTTEP)’ through which the more contemporary and innovative teacher training approach is made use of – and described by the initiator (Uginia A. Urwick) as:- an Inclusive –Special Education Teacher Training Approach (ISETTA).Making maximum use of the above mentioned approach, the project trains and qualifies Inclusive Special Education Teachers locally in Cameroon for Cameroon.
Why coming up with an alternative approach for the training of teachers and other professionals in Cameroon?
The simple logic and justification is that; ‘one size does not fit all’ in which case, a standard programme of study. That is, general Education form of teacher’s education and training for teachers in the country would not be good enough to meet individual unique learners learning needs and strengths in given learning environments. There is no garden with one type for plant spices without the presence of other probably unwanted grass or weed or other plants.
Apparently, whether we like to accept/admit it or not- it is the case with our classrooms and educational system. This is equally the reality with our societies. There is no separate farm land for unwanted plants to grow. There is no separate society for those living with disabilities and having special educational needs to inhabit on. Unfortunately, for
You or us claiming to have no history of special needs, we have to share the same society with those living with SENDs –as there is only one common habitat for all to dwell in. We can now see why ‘Nature’ is the perfect and ultimate equalizer ( ‘God’ the Maker refused to create such a divide –In which case, if we decide to destroy it for them- we are technically destroying it for all. An inclusive society and education is good for all. So, let each one of us endeavour to invite all those who have been historically left out in….
Exclusion seriously need to be quickly and seriously replaced by best inclusive practices by all means at all corners of the globe irrespective of the corners level of development and means. Undoubtable there are still so many doubters out there who keep saying -it is a concept that is practically unattainable, expensive draining, unrealistic, unpractical, uneconomically?
We totally disagree with any of these mythical beliefs and wish to express our own side of the arguments that; it is a concept which acknowledged that: - there is no shop in the planet where disabilities and special educational needs are bought. Anyone, can fall into this category at any time – mostly especially with our present lifestyles, the changing human interest and world order, it is a concept that; foster holistic progressiveness for the good of all, that ensures everyone is given the opportunity to participate and contributes appropriately as well as lives a meaningful and productive life, is considerate of all, encourages respect for human dignity and fundamental human rights, respect differences and uniqueness, promotes diversity, integration and fairness, endeavours to create an appropriate playing field for all, gives a voice to all and gets all involve in whatever decisions concerns them and their families, plan with and not for them. We can go on and one ... Just to expressed few of our own views.
As an attempt to drag the blanket to our side as far as our own views are concern on inclusive education and society practices, ITCIG-Special Educational Needs Teachers Training Institute saw the needs to act as a tool for the transformation of an idea to bring it to life.
2006 following research findings, witnessed the Initiation , introduction, development and implementation of a brand new professional training concept/approach in Cameroon , which was described by the initiator as:- the Inclusive –Special Teachers Training Approach (ISETTA).
An approach believe to be able to:- revolutionise the quality of teachers’ education and training, assist in identifying various issues affecting person living with disabilities and special educational needs, removing artificial barriers to access to diverse overall opportunities for all, increasing access to quality primary education for all, assist the Cameroon Government attains her International and National targets/obligations. Change positively societal attitudes toward those living with disabilities which is goes to extreme to create and most of the disabling conditions and hinders the acknowledgment of abilities amongst those living with exceptionalities.
How the approach is going to be helpful in addressing the issues numerated.
The introduction of an alternative innovative Inclusive –Special Education Teacher Training Approach to replace the archaic long survive standardized General Education Teachers Training Model, that was practice following independence and is still practiced in Cameroon today. The lapses encompassed with this model implies that; it was badly in need of modernisation and it thus, sufficed for ITCIG-SENTTI to pull the plug with the introduction and injection of a much more multi-dimensional teacher training approach- the Inclusive-Special Education Teacher Training Approach. SENTTI is no longer alone worrying about the standard of teacher education curriculum, the quality of teacher training in relation to the teacher’s abilities to meet the teaching and learning needs of each learner.
Government Ministries of Education, for instance, the Ministry of Secondary Education (The Ministry under which the training of Teachers for the Nursery-primary and junior Secondary now falls under) in 2014 did a shark up review of the General Education Teacher Education Training Syllabus.
The experimentation of the 2014 reviewed Syllabus was done and this 2015 /2016 Academic Year has witnessed the full adoption of the reviewed Teacher Education Training Syllabus. Notwithstanding, this change still has a long way to go as far as including learners with Exceptionalities in and out of school is concern. Notwithstanding, the above move by the Ministry of Secondary Education is seen by the ITCIG-SENTTI Team as laudable as we are appreciative of the fact that; the tide is beginning to change towards a more contemporary training method for teachers - even if it is still an orientated change towards the General Education Teacher Training programme in Cameroon.
The Inclusive-Special Education Teacher Training Approach – consider the best at moment in Africa and Cameroon in particular, is being made use of for the training of Inclusive Education Teachers – who are much extremely versatile as a result of their holistic training. Though such a breed of teachers are requiring a longer training duration compared to the duration required for the training of General Education Teachers. The good news is that; admittedly based on experimental results on the ground. The extra duration Inclusive -Special Education Teachers take in training is worth its while. Why?
This new breed of 21st century teachers are making it possible for the Cameroon government to actually be on the positive move to creating and providing universal access to education for all – as they are successfully removing artificial barriers to learning and to other opportunities for children, young adults and adults living with disabilities and special educational needs.
They are also assisting in providing solutions to some of the issues affecting the parents of children in need of additional support and provision. Their training has made it possible for human resource in the country to be made maximum use of - as Inclusive –Special Education Teachers have the competences to be mobile job wise across Government Ministers and the Private Sector. As they can either work with the general education sector, special education or at -Inclusive education sectors, which we at SENTTI are strongly advocating for educational system change in favour. Also, inclusive educators are train to work in all disabilities related opportunities.
We do not need to move far to see evidences of their output in Cameroon as they are spread out and working in every single region in the country. We can see or observe that; they are already supporting the Government and the society in addressing the issue of lack of qualified teachers to work with and for learners with Exceptionalities.
This is the joy which SENTTI derives from training the above mentioned unique and inclusive-versatile breed of human resource in Cameroon. Giving the opportunity to every child to be taught by a qualified teacher and having adequate and appropriate access to the standard level appropriate curriculum as well as access to quality basic education.
What the effectiveness of the Inclusive-Special Education Teacher Training Approach would greatly depend on:-
For the Inclusive Teachers Training Approach to work as well as for the goal to provide Universal Access to Quality Basic Education For All by Post 2015 -following the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals to be realise, the needs of the severely underprivileged/disadvantaged, not excluding working class, individuals affected by conflicts and natural disasters, HIV and AIDS, hunger, poor health and those with exceptional learning needs must be taken into consideration by socio-economic services providers. This by implication, thus implies that, ITCIG-Special Educational Needs Teachers Training Approach is not limited to the field or Ministries of Education but rather, is an approach that is already cutting -across and benefitting all Ministries in Cameroon. For instance, Social Affairs, Health, Vocational Training and Employment, public service, Territorial Administration, Public Works - just to name a few of the Ministries.
The reason for adopting such a contemporary professional teachers training approach (Inclusive –Special Education Training Approach) to a large extent is because we are versed with the fact that; individual learners needs are unique and different/diverse, as such training a ‘whole teacher’ would be of significant benefit to all learners no matter their individual needs , interest , preferences and choices.
Similarly, a differentiated curriculum of study, teaching and learning resources, assessment, and learning environment would go a long way to motivate, create and promote a universal access to education for all.
Continuous Provision of formal training and qualifications in Inclusive-Special Education teaching to primarily Cameroonian Teachers and other Educational Professionals is a major aim of ITCIG- Special Educational Needs Teachers Training Institute.
This form of training would continue to contribute towards the realisation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of Fostering /Creating Universal Access to Quality Basic Education for All in Cameroon as aforementioned.
In this wise, the Institution focus is the training of inclusive personnel’s such as Inclusive –Special Educators. Those already trained are working either as: - Special Education Teachers, General Education/Mainstream Classroom Teachers, Special Educational Need Co-ordinator’s, Transcribers, Sign Language Interpreters, Resources Persons, paraprofessionals etc. Working options vary. That is, either be under the Ministries of Education ((Primary and Junior Secondary level Learners), Ministry of Social Affairs, Information and Communication, Vocational Training and Labour. Just to list a few.
ITCIG-SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS TEACHERS’TRAINING INSTITUTE (SENTTI) MISSION
The mission of ITCIG –Special Education Needs Teachers Training Institute (SENTTI) is not only to educate or train Inclusive Special Education Teachers and other Educational professionals to meet the educational needs of children and adults with various disabilities, but equally to incorporate and create a conducive educational learning environment, which would attract all levels of learners to learn within the same complex.
Sensitize and create awareness on issues affecting the underprivileged and marginalized members of the society either as a result of cultural beliefs, gender, status and ethnicity or as a result of distress resulting from homeliness, war, orphaned and deprivation, human right abuse, HIV and Aids, Child and domestic abuse.
We are a Social Enterprise Structure –and did choose to make use of this approach to ensure the sustainability of our project. One other driving force of our mission is to assist in removing artificial barries- which are hindering quality access to basic education to children with Exceptional Needs irrespective of the nature of disabilities.
In this case, our motive therefore is to train and equip student -teachers as well as Existing teachers with the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills require to plan and teach to meet the diverse needs of individual learners in the classroom and other learning environment.
Besides, workings with Educators, other interested individuals and professional (social workers, journalist, and parents of children with special needs, religious leaders, community workers, and Nurses), parents of children with disabilities are continuously welcome to enroll and learn at the institution.
JUSTIFICATION FOR THE SENTTI’S TRAINING APPROACH:
The rising number of Special needs cases in Cameroon necessitates this approach. Since, the advent of the project we have been working in partnership with Organisations/Associations, Foundations. In a nutshell, others pursuing similar aims, mission and objectives. In addition, we have created partnership links with some Government Ministries and some schools at various levels. We equally work with adults with special needs. Meanwhile, our school is open to learners of diverse categories. That is with or without Special educational Needs and Disabilities.