How Zanzibar includes children with disabilities in its classrooms

Photo story: View the impact that a US$5.2 million GPE grant to Zanzibar has made in building a more inclusive education system.

July 27, 2018 by GPE Secretariat
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1 minute read
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A mural depicting children with disabilities going to school. Zanzibar. Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
Kisiwandui Primary School in Zanzibar is embracing inclusion. It welcomes 50 students with various forms of disabilities, both learning and physical challenges.
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
The school, through paintings on its walls, portrays children living with disabilities as able contributors and learners, and encourages others to lend a helping hand.
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
In this pre-primary classroom, learners of all abilities and backgrounds are encouraged to engage together and support each other in the classroom. On the photo are Feisal, Abraham and Hudhaifin.
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
Halima Hmad Juma, their teacher, shows the words as she says them and then the students repeat in unison. Zanzibar is working on training its teachers on inclusion and child friendly classroom practices.
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
The children also look at the corresponding images in their textbooks, whose illustrations are large and visible to those that may have a visual impairment.
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
In a grade 6 science class, Ali Moussa and Mahmoud, are committed to learning despite their visual impairment (front row)
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
They each have a small device to record the lessons, so they are able to listen back at home later for their homework.
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
They also have Braille machines to take notes and do exercises. Both learned to use the Braille machine in Grade 3, and before that they were using a slate and stylus to write in Braille.
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
Ali Moussa reads from his notes.
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
The teacher asks Mahmoudou to stand up and answer a question about the 5 sense organs.
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
Kanthar Abdalla Mdid is one of the inclusive education teachers.
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
She has been trained to repair the Braille machines when they break down.
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
Through a US$5.2 million grant, GPE supported the government of Zanzibar to make its education system more inclusive and welcome all children in the classroom. At Kisiwandui Primary School, the grant enabled the purchase of useful equipment, such a laptop computers…
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
as well as braille machines and teacher guides in braille.
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
Some of the children who need additional support sit together in a smaller classroom.
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
This allows individual attention, with the objective to integrate them in regular classrooms when they are ready.
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
Mrs. Taifa KH Ahmed (in red with her two assistants) has worked a Kisiwandui since 2010.
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
Thank you Kisiwandui Primary School to open your doors to us! GPE is proud to support inclusive education in Zanzibar.
Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
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Inclusive education
Sub-Saharan Africa: Tanzania

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Dear GPE,
Well done, excellent, thank you ...

I am Senior Research Associate at UCL-IoE, London University, and an Associate Lecturer with the Open University, UK

I hope the education systems, teachers, textbooks, policies and practices are in keeping with what I describe in my Routledge 2016 publication, 'The Critical Global Educator: Global Citizenship Education as Sustainable Development'.

I don't need to or mean to sell this book, but am passionate about its message, which after 7 or so years of struggle, was finally granted an Unconditional Pass at London University.

With best wishes for your vision and mission.

Maureen Ellis
Somerset, UK

This is such a great initiative the pictures tell of the resilience of the human spirit. Children are angels and there is no any other greater course that taking care of their needs.

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