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JIS News

Chief Advisor to the Minister of Education, Alphansus Davis, has called on educators to work to create an inclusive learning environment that addresses the diverse needs of all students and encourages them to achieve.
Mr. Davis, who was speaking at the launch of the North West Clarendon Principals Association academic quiz competition in Spaldings, recently, said that segregation could permanently affect students’ self esteem, creating a sense of inadequacy, which could prevent them from self-actualizing, and performing to the best of their abilities.
“Inclusion is the opposite of segregation and isolation. Segregated education creates a permanent underclass of students, and conveys a strong message to those students that they do not measure up, fit in or belong,” he told the educators.
Citing a recent conversation with children, in which he asked them how they felt about being excluded from school activities, he said they expressed feelings of anger, resentfulness, hurt, frustration, loneliness, inferiority, and shame, while being included, made them feel secure, special, comfortable, cared about, liked, appreciated, loved, and positive.
Mr. Davis insisted that each individual has an innate need to belong, and exclusion would only serve to destroy the wealth of potential each child takes to the learning situation. He called on educators to view differences in students’ abilities, and physical and mental makeup, not as problems, but rather, as opportunities to help them to evolve into the most productive human beings they can become.
“I challenge us to take into consideration the various abilities of our students, as we work together to unearth their talents and to build within them a positive self concept,” he urged.
According to Education Advisor, all efforts at educational reform would prove futile, unless educators were sufficiently able to address the issue of diversity, and employ methods of instruction, which would not exclude some individuals, while catering to the needs of those deemed “capable”.
“We will not restructure schools to be effective, until we stop seeing diversity in our students as problems. Every student has the right to instruction that obligates the teacher, like the doctor, to change tactics, when progress fails to take place,” he asserted.
“Each student has the right to learn and achieve. Diversity enriches us all, and students at risk can overcome the risk of failure through involvement in a thoughtful community of learners. Each student has strengths and needs..effective learning results from the collaborative efforts of everyone, working together to ensure each student’s success.
“I implore all of us to look at the innovative strategy of inclusion. No child should be left behind. This inclusion benefits not only students with disabilities, but all students, and collectively, the educators, the parents and community members,” Mr. Davis told the educators.
Chairman of the North West Clarendon Principals Association, Rev. Dr. Donald Johnson, informed JIS News that the quiz competition was one measure being undertaken to propel students to optimize their potential.
The competition is being staged under the theme: ‘Positively transforming the lives of our nation’s children through collective and innovative strategies’.