Promoting inclusive education in challenging circumstances
Haiat Al-Ashmoori came seventh in literacy across the entire country. She scored grades of 93.57%, an extraordinary achievement – because Haiat is blind.
Despite her top grades, Haiat’s face did not appear in the media coverage of the country’s top students celebrating at their graduation ceremonies. Blind students aren’t allowed to study mathematics so her name was missed off the list of high achievers.
“The ministry should integrate us with other students.” she says. “We study the same curriculum, so how come they get top ranks while we don’t?”
Her frustration and that of other special needs pupils is only now being heard in Yemen, one of the Middle East’s most under-developed countries with a per capita income of just over $1100 a year.
Raising awareness about the injustice
A grass roots movement for change is bringing together the commitment of Yemeni specialists and the expertise and funding of the British Council.
The movement is promoting the message of educational inclusion to thousands of teachers and pupils across the country.
Professional and strategic planning
Fatima Mohammed Nasser, a special educational needs (SEN) expert from the southern seaport of Aden, greatly appreciates the British Council’s input saying: “They are professional and they have strategic planning. They teach us the vision, how to explain it and how to plan for the future”.
Fatima is charged with improving SEN provision in one of Yemen’s administrative regions. She and five colleagues have been supported through a Connecting Classrooms training programme. The training draws on the UK’s experience as a world leader in educational inclusion.
Yemen’s precarious security situation means British trainers can’t work in the country, but Fatima, her colleagues and the British Council team in Yemen have trained nearly 15,000 teachers, 30 head teachers and 20 heads of NGOs. They have also spoken to 15,000 schoolchildren about the issue.