A panel discussion, a knowledge contest and a “Fun Night” are among the events ongoing through tomorrow as part of Special Education Week.
Themed “Accessibility and Equity: A Spectrum of Possibilities,” this year’s observance aims to raise awareness about special education and foster an inclusive environment in the territory’s schools, education officials said.
“This theme embodies our collective efforts to ensure that every child, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, can thrive and succeed,” Education, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Sharie de Castro said in her Monday speech opening the observance.
Along with other school activities, a panel discussion was held Tuesday and a Word Recognition and General Knowledge Contest was scheduled for yesterday.
Today, the government plans to release video highlights on its Facebook page, and the week is slated to wrap up tomorrow with a “Fun Night” themed “Equity for All” from 6-9 p.m. at Cedar International School.
‘Beyond physical spaces’
Ms. de Castro said special education should focus on ensuring that all students have access to the tools they need for success.
“When we talk about accessibility in education, it extends beyond physical spaces,” she added. “It encompasses a wide range of possibilities, including the use of adaptive technologies, inclusive curricula, and supportive learning environments.”
As part of the government’s efforts to that end, she touted the $4 million contract the Recovery and Development Agency recently signed for the construction of a new Eslyn Henley Richiez Learning Centre.
The special-education school was destroyed in Hurricane Irma in 2017, and its students have not had a dedicated facility since then.
The rebuild is now in progress, with a completion target of March 2025.
As part of related efforts, seven special education teachers completed the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commonwealth of Learning Assistive Technology Course in July.
“It is the aim of the Ministry of Education to strengthen its human capital through professional development opportunities, all the while increasing access and ensuring that equity is provided for all students,” said Dr. Marcia Potter, permanent secretary in the EYAS Ministry.
The course, she added, is designed to identify and utilise low-cost and low-tech devices to support the learning of students with special needs.