CUBA has a program focused on the development and comprehensive care of children, adolescents and young adults with special educational needs (NEE), a social project fostered from the beginning of the revolutionary process.
Today, 50 years later, special education is improving and consolidating its work, as part of a social commitment to the country and people with special needs, as its national director, Moraima Orozco Delgado, told Granma. "As distinct from some international methods, our country interprets the inclusion movement as the guarantee of education for all and, in this context, we have gradually succeeded in integrating students with special needs into regular education.
With a register of 39,000-plus pupils from 0-21 years of age, approximately 4,000 students are incorporated into the regular education system every year, Orozco stated, and during this academic year more than 100 entered higher education, an example of the effectiveness of the process.
However, in order for the process to develop successfully, teaching personnel have to be prepared, as well as the groups who are going to receive these students. At each level a methodological, scientific and pedagogical strategy has to be devised to ensure a quality education for students with special needs in new conditions. Experiences to date have been positive, but there is still a long way to go, she added.
Special schools are always going to be there to attend to a specific school population, she explained, but the objective is to transform them in the future into resource and support centers for the rest of the education system, so that students with special needs can fully develop within the regular system and receive the attention they require.
"Moreover, Cuban special education has a transition function; in other words, children remain in these units for a certain period of time until it is possible to manage their insertion into regular education. The challenge before us is to continue improving educational practices in order to increase the quality of this work."
"Of course," she noted, "our work is closely related to orientating families, so that they can continue the work of schools in the home. In conjunction with parents and the community; it is our role to prepare students for an independent adult life, and to ensure them decent employment which will allow for their socially useful development. The task of every day is to make a greater effort and put into it much love."