About the department

Cognizant of the role of education for development of a country, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) has been committed to make education accessible to all citizens irrespective of their gender, disability, language, socio economic status, religion, etc. differences. Accordingly, the Government has given due attention to the education of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and has put in place important legal and policy frameworks. The issues of peoples with disabilities were communicated clearly in the Ethiopian Constitution, Education and Training policy, and more recently the Ministry of Education (MoE) has designed a Special Needs Education Program (SNE) strategy in 2006 to make education accessible to children with special needs and marginalized groups. Ethiopia has also ratified various international Conventions and instruments of relevance to inclusive education. Of particular significance is the UN Convention on the Rights of PwDs 2006, in which Article 24 emphasizes inclusive education.

To create educational access to children with special needs at all levels in Ethiopia, there is a need to implement inclusive educational programs in schools. Every child should be welcomed and get appropriate support in schools. All teachers and administrative personnel need to support each other and share experiences for the best learning of all children. The adults in the school and children should develop trust and treat each other with respect.

Furthermore,  the  new  organizational  structure  and  the  expanding  general  education  (about 30,000 general education, grades 1–10, out of which 1517 schools are secondary.) in the country demands  that  there  should  be  two  special  needs  education  teachers  in  a  school,  one  leading  teacher, and one  assistant teacher, to support the education and training of children and  youth  with  special  needs.  The  implementation  of  the  plans  prerequisites  that  approximately  60,000  special needs  education professionals will be employed. At the moment, however, none of the  schools have  got teachers with the appropriate  expertise, knowledge and skills  in special needs  education  as  desired  by  the  guidelines of  Ministry  of  Education,  (2001/02).  There are only limited number of minimally trained teachers for special schools and classes at primary level.

 The Growth and Transformation Plan (2010) and Education Sector Development Plan (2010) are very much demanding to expand SNE programs in the country, to bring access to 97% children with special needs who are out of school currently.  The 30,000 regular schools are waiting for professionals in special needs education. Technological transfer and special materials for teaching and learning of children with disability is not locally in place. Assessment instruments are neither country wide nor locally developed and in use. Curriculum is not yet adapted to the needs and potentials of the children with special needs. Schools are not favorable for all children to learn best and enhance quality education. Special needs education works to realize inclusive education, where all children receive quality education.

All  challenges  mentioned  above  imply  that  practical  efforts  in  educating  professionals  and

teachers,  advocacy,  awareness  creating,  involving  parents,  providing  and  adapting  educational materials, developments of guides and arrangements of additional supports in different forms for  children and youth with special needs are not on satisfying level.

 For  several  reasons  raised above,  Jimma university has  the responsibility and also the potential to address contemporary training needs of the nation and respond  to  the  plan  of  the  government  and  international  demands  set  for  example  in  the  conventions and declarations of the UN. The inclusive educational challenges will be taken seriously in the Special Needs and inclusive Education Department.  The program will serve the nation by producing competent graduates who would be assigned in different positions. College of Education and Behavioral Sciences has launched Bachelor of Art Degree in Special Needs and Inclusive Education Program in 2015.