Students living with disabilities now have a greater boost in their access to learning facilities, geared specifically for them, through several educational interventions.

One such intervention by the Ministry of Education is the use of the Regional Special Education Needs/Disability Diagnostic and Treatment Centre, to specifically diagnose the learners’ disabilities. This will allow the students to be provided with appropriate education delivery tailored to their individual needs.

This programme comes as the Education Ministry continues to make provisions for Special Education Needs within the mainstream education system. In this provision all teachers at mainstream and Special Education Needs (SEN) schools are trained in the delivery of SEN content and approaches.

National Special Education Needs Officer, Savvie Hopkinson told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that the ministry is making strides to ensure all learners have equal access to educational opportunities.

“Even though their needs are identifiable, [previously] they were not given an official diagnosis but with the Regional Special Education Needs/Disability Diagnostic and Treatment Centre students are now able to have their diagnosis so that they can be provided with the right treatment with the right educational plans to support those needs,” Hopkinson explained.

Currently there are 10 SEN Schools and 3 SEN classrooms across Guyana.

The SEN classrooms are located in Region 3 at the Wales Primary School, in Region 5 at Number 8 Primary and in Region 4 at the Beterverwagting Primary School.

New Amsterdam, Linden and Georgetown have several SEN schools catering to the needs of all learners with special needs.

Hopkinson added that private schools also benefit from partnership with the Ministry of Education, in relation to SEN programmes.

“We do not limit our training to schools that fall directly under the Ministry of Education. In our programme we include privately owned schools,” she said.

“Later down the road we will see, having all these in place that the right support is put in place within the classroom and that programmes are developed to match those needs so that our students can become more successful,” Hopkinson related.

There are SEN Officers in the Regions 3, 4, 6, 10 and Georgetown educational districts.

“We envision that the whole process of providing education that is suitable for students to develop to their full potential and all that [is needed] would come in place,” she stressed.

These initiatives are aligned with the objectives of the Ministry of Education which are eliminating illiteracy, modernising education and strengthening tolerance.