REPORT ON THE CURRENT EDUCATIONAL PROVISIONS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES IN JORDAN
Different research studies have shown disadvantageous position of the disabled student in Jordan. This is despite the measures taken by the public and private sector in the country to facilitate the integration of disabled people in the society. Same can be said about the state of education of disabled students. The status of education situation for the disabled students can be gauged from the fact that the reading material for blind people is very limited in the country. Likewise, there is a paucity of specialized centres, which could fulfil the needs of special and disabled students. The condition in cities is relatively better in comparison to rural areas, where there is a great need for the development of infrastructure for disabled students (Barnes, 1996).
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Despite the poor condition of disabled education in the country, it cannot be concluded that Jordanian government has not taken measures to improve the condition. First law related to the welfare of disabled people was passed in 1989 after strenuous effort of different NGOs and activists and assistance from government departments. Second related legislation was passed in 1993, exhibiting state’s aim to provide services to the disabled people for their integration in the society. These laws provided the disabled citizens to acquire education, training, employment and other basic state services. These laws also gave birth to the National Council for the Affairs of Disabled Persons, which became the first government body to look after the affairs of disabled people. However, there is still great need to develop mechanism, which could ensure the collaboration of public, private and nongovernment in the welfare of disabled citizens. Moreover, there are also certain deficiencies in the legislations, which need to be overcome. One such deficiency exists in the absence of dyslexia in disability category. Similarly, the government functionaries have been given too much discretionary powers, unlike western countries. For instance, the representative of disabled people can only be appointed by the government. Similarly, the focus of the law is on the welfare rather than giving the due rights to the disabled citizens. It can be concluded from the analysis of the laws that it will be more potent if certain systems are developed, which would ensure the provision of rights to the disabled citizens such as right of education. Currently, the participation of the disabled citizen in the economy is very low. And this can be attributed to the low education of the disabled citizens in comparison to nondisabled citizens (Turmusani, 1999).
The number of people with disabilities in Jordan stands around 50, 000 and 100, 000. In order to provide them with quality education, first initiative was taken by the end of 1960s, when an institution was developed to provide education services students with hearing, sight and cognitive disabilities. Likewise, with the development of Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in 1979, government took first concrete step towards providing basic rights including education to the disabled citizens. Fortunately, the provision of education was not left solely to the government but other actors started playing their role. As a result, an organized movement was established for the provision of special education, vocation and community services to students with disabilities (Hadidi & ALKhatib, 2005).
Available Services and Programs
Primary service provider of special education is the Ministry of Education. The ministry started the program of including special education for disabled and gifted student in general educational institutions. The ministry supported the gifted students by providing the opportunity to the students to study in a higher class according to their capabilities. Similarly, some nongovernment institutions also played their part. One pertinent example is of Noor- Al-Hussein Foundation, which provided education to the gifted students through Jubilee Schools. Similarly, in order to provide quality education to the disabled students, the ministry of education through the Directorate of Special Education (DSE) and the Division of Remedial Education (DRE) developed 400 resource rooms, which were scattered throughout the country. Likewise, the ministry of education in collaboration with UNESCO started 18 integrated programs for special students in regular schools. The effort related to the provision of special education is not limited to the government, but many international organizations also played their role in bringing improvement in special education in Jordan. The role of UN cannot be underappreciated here. United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) developed an educational program in Jordan for special students. These education programs took place in a total of 9 education centres developed by the same agency. The focus of these centres was towards students with learning and hearing disabilities. The royal family of Jordan is also very actively involved in improving the condition of special education in the country. Queen Alia Fund for Voluntary Social Work provides specialized training to the professional staff and teachers involved in the provision of special education. It also provided financial support to the different agencies involved in this segment (Jabery & Zumberg, 2008).
Certain public and private initiatives are also developed to provide educational services to disabled students. These partnerships are mostly related to the field of assessment and diagnostic services. These partnerships played a vital role in the development of intelligence and educational tests for the special and gifted students. These tests enabled the special academic staff to make an accurate assessment about the eligibility of the special student and accordingly offer the correct special education program to the student. In addition to this, there are also numerous community based initiatives responsible for providing inclusive education to special and gifted students (H.K.J Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), 2005).
It can be concluded from the preceding discussion that there has been considerable work done in the field of education for students with disabilities. The above discussion also showed the role played by different stakeholders of Jordanian society. However, there is still great need of work, which needs to be done in order to bring the present status of special education in the country at par with the western world. In order to this, it is imperative that the government take the initiative in collaboration with private and nongovernment sector to develop a legal mechanism, which will ensure the provision of education to the citizens with disabilities as their right and not as a welfare initiative.
Barnes, C. (1996). The social model of disability: Myths and misconceptions. Coalition , 25-30.
H.K.J Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE). (2005). Ministry of Higher Education: general statistics. Retrieved May 20, 2012, from H.K.J Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE): httb://www.MOHE.gov.jo/statistics/default/asp.
Hadidi, A., & ALKhatib. (2005). Special education in Jordan. Special Education Conference at University of Jordan.
Jabery, M. A., & Zumberg, M. (2008). General and special education in Jordan: Present and future perspectives. International Journal of Special Education , 115-122.
Turmusani, M. (1999). Disability and development: Learning from action and research on disability in the majority world,. Leeds: The Disability Press.
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