The idea for this training arose from a participatory multi-stakeholder focus group meeting held in May 2015 for the Disability Component partners of the CCOSC. These four (4) partners are the Disability Development Service Programme (DDSP), Epic Arts, Komar Pikar Foundation (KPF) and Rabbit School Organisation (RSO). The stakeholder groups comprised parents, teachers, School Directors, teacher supervisors, Commune Chiefs and District Officers of Education. The purpose for the focus group was to identify the capacity development needs of all stakeholders working on the CCOSC programme. One of the needs identified was to develop a common understanding of the term “Inclusive Education”. Anecdotal evidence in Cambodia shows that when anyone mentions inclusive education, people think it only applies to people with disabilities. To dispel this myth the Inclusive Education Training for Partners of Cambodian Consortium for Out of School Children was made available to all the CCOSC partners who work in its five (5) Components: children from poor families and those who live in remote areas, children who live on the streets, children from ethnic and religious minorities, children who are over age and children with disabilities.
All the participants of the focus group were involved and determined the prioritisation of their and the other stakeholder’s capacity development needs by being able to vote from a list that was developed by different stakeholders in their groups. The prioritisation was then discussed with the Directors of the 4 Disability Component partner NGOs. Once the Directors were in agreement with the priorities developed by the stakeholders, two sets of discussions took place – the first on training and the second one on finding innovative ways to work at the community level to make inclusive education a reality.
For the training for teachers, three (3) different types of training were prioritised by the stakeholders. A lead partner was also identified for each training. The lead partner would be supported by AEA’s Inclusive Education Advisor, as it was felt that the current curriculum approved by the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports, for the first two identified trainings needed to be improved. For the third training , new curriculum would need to be developed. It was agreed that Trainers of Teachers would be the participants of the agreed training and they would in turn cascade this training to teachers.
Planning the first training on Inclusive Education:
Subsequently, a couple of meetings were held between the Director of DDSP and AEA’s Inclusive Education Advisor to decide on the contents of the training as well as the pedagogy to be used for the training. It was agreed that the training would be conducted in a participatory way so that the trainers would learn how to teach children using the “Child Friendly School” principles where children would be active learners.
Actual training sessions:
The five days were highly participatory and the participants actively involved in their own learning. There were only 3 powerpoint presentations throughout the 5 days which meant that the trainers had to monitor that the participants were learning and understood the concepts being presented. Daily reflection sessions were also taken seriously and the next days’ training session was changed accordingly. Everybody’s ideas were heard and debated and there was a conclusion as to which of the ideas met Inclusive Education principles.
By the end of 5 days everyone was exhausted and yet everyone had so much fun that even after the training was finished, participants still stayed behind talking about their experiences. The Guide for Trainers for this training can be found on AEA and CCOSC websites by clicking here.