Malawi National Association for the Deaf (MANAD) has trained special needs education (SNE) teachers from all the six schools for the deaf in universal design learning (UDL) and Malawi Sign Language (MSL) in an effort to promote inclusive education in the country.
The organization also distributed MSL books to the teachers on the sidelines of the training, which was financially supported by All Children Reading (ACR).
The training, which took place at Linde Hotel at Mponela from Tuesday to Wednesday last week, was aimed at equipping teachers with skills on how they can apply UDL methodologies and utilize MSL books to promote equity in education provision.
MANAD Executive Director Byson Chimenya said various studies have shown that inclusive learning benefits all students in the classroom by providing thoughtful, personalized instruction and promoting individuality and equity; hence, their decision to equip teachers with such skills.
Chimenya stressed that his organization recognizes the need to establish a successful integrated learning environment is a complex task involving teachers, administrators, and families.
“We noted that there many gaps in the provision of education, with deaf children facing many challenges to access education. That’s why we decided to come with this initiative to complement government efforts to address those gaps,” he said, stressing that special education teachers have the essential role of ensuring that students with disabilities or special needs receive a quality education.
ACR Coordinator Sekerani Kufakwina described UDL as a way of thinking about teaching and learning that helps give all students an equal opportunity to succeed as it offers flexibility in the ways learners can access material, engage with it and show what they know.
Kufakwina added that the goal of UDL is to use a variety of teaching methods to remove any barriers to learning and give all students equal opportunities to succeed.
Chief Education Officer responsible for Inclusive Education in the Ministry of Education, Peter Msendema, described the training as timely, saying it had come at a time when the government is developing a policy for promoting inclusive education.
Msendema therefore commended MANAD for taking steps to complement the government in identifying and addressing barriers hindering inclusiveness in Malawi.