Special Education Plan to ensure ‘no child left behind’

The second phase of the Tobago Special Education Implementation Project began last week, and will include stakeholder engagement for the island’s special needs schools.

Secretary of the Division of Education, Youth Affairs and Sport Huey Cadette recently updated the media on the project, which is being led by U.S.-based consultant Dr. Sheila Paul, Professor of Special Education at Medgar Evers College.

Paul met with stakeholders last year July and August to discuss the plan’s implementation and complete Phase I of the project, while Phase II began on January 9.

Once this is completed, the Division will develop a database of students at the special needs schools and those in mainstream schools identified as having special needs. The Division also plans to train administrative personnel to manage the database; train teachers to screen students with developmental needs; and host a workshop to advise parents of children with special needs about available education support services and how they can access those services.

During last week’s post Executive Council media briefing (January 11, 2017) at the Administrative Complex, Cadette said the Division wants “to ensure we have a comprehensive plan, and that no child is left behind.”

The Secretary added: “We’re hoping out of this exercise, the Division will have a solid plan as it relates to special needs education, and then will guide us to determine if we have a system that involves a full integration of our special needs children, or if we have partial integration, or if we have separation.”

The THA and the Division of International Special Education and Services (DISES) are collaborating to produce a Tobago specific policy through the Tobago Special Education Implementation Project. The Plan Review Committee comprises experts from established national, regional and international special education organisations.

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