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The ball is in ministry’s court

Aisha Hamada, Supervisor of the Special Needs Schools Department in the Ministry of Education, wrote an article which contained inaccuracies about the role played by the state in providing the Special Schools with the needs of slow learners, and I replied with a short response.

Mrs Hamada claimed that “special education” schools have made all the preparations, including teachers and curricula to receive slow learners.

This, of course, is not true, and according to the testimony of current and former school officials, in addition to the great shortage of qualified teachers Suleiman Al-Saleh, Director of the Special Education Department had previously stated that the project of graduating teachers for special needs groups has not seen the light of day despite attempts that were made since 1976, expressing his hope that Kuwait University will accelerate the graduation of this type of staff.

We present to the reader a comparison between the statement of the expert Aisha and the director Al-Saleh.

Mrs Hamada claims that the equipment available at the Ministry of Education is at the same level, if not better, than what is made available in developed countries, especially in terms of the Kuwaiti elements’ readiness to develop the educational process.

We do not wish to comment on the issue related to our distinction over Western countries, but we wonder: Does not the presence of intent and willingness to develop mean that the process is not developed?

The claim that the percentage of mentally handicapped cases is much less than 10% is incorrect, and if we believe in that, and we have further reduced this percentage to only 1%, this means that there are more than two thousand cases of children who have mental disability of the same type or else and they do not find the state putting in place a suitable education for them due to the absence of the curriculum, teacher and school.

Mrs Aisha calls for determining the number of children with special needs in order to develop sound solutions to the problem, while identifying types of disabilities.

I don’t know who prevented her from knowing the numbers, where the ministry has been since 1976, and what is the army of the ministry’s employees doing, which, according to the testimony of the minister (Ahmad Al-Rubei) was 38,000 employees.

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I and a group of parents of slow learners requested the Ministry of Education to provide us with a license to open a non-profit school. The ministry granted us what we asked for, but it became clear from the conditions that the license is useless because of the difficulty in adhering to its unfair conditions.

It is impossible to provide a suitable half-education for slow learners without government support, and this was not achieved. Consequently, a majority of these children stayed in their parents’ homes or traveled abroad to enroll in specialized schools, as happened with me and with many of those I know.

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 I wrote the above article in Al Qabas on the same day 28 years ago, and Kuwait is still without a government school for slow learners.

e-mail: a.alsarraf@alqabas.com.kw

By Ahmad alsarraf

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