Our CEO, Mithun Kamath, had the honour of being a keynote speaker at the 2nd International Conference on Special Education, in Malaysia, where he discussed ‘Best Practices for Teaching TVET to Special Education Needs (SEN) Students’. From analysing the methods of different organisations, you can begin to create a recipe for success.
Youth with disabilities are amongst the most marginalised and poorest of all the world’s youth.
- Estimates suggest that there are between 180 and 220 million youth with disabilities worldwide and nearly 80% of them live in developing countries (UNSECO 2009)
- UNESCO also estimates that of those living in developing countries 98% of children do not attend school and 99% of girls with disabilities are illiterate.
- Children with disabilities have a lower probability of entering school as well as staying and advancing.
Amongst these alarming statistics, there are many global creative and innovative programmes that meet the challenges people with disabilities confront with accessing skills training and employment. Often supported by governments, NGOs, and private sector organisations, these programmes are useful models that lend themselves to learnings, as well as total or partial replication.
No matter the political, economic, or social diversity of each country, it is the hope these good practices for inclusion inspire replication to some degree. After all, a good idea knows no bounds.
3 Best Practice Examples
Abilympics: The Abilympics is a vocational skill competition for persons with disabilities held every four years. The event is an abbreviation of 'Olympics of Abilities', a competition that promotes the employment skills of people with a disability.
The Redemptorist Vocational School for the Disabled: The Redemptorist Vocational School for the Disabled, is located in Thailand and provides training in the skills needed for a technology-based workplace. It also provides classes in remedial literacy skills as well as in English, a language critical in the global online environment.
Young Africa: YA offers 43 different Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) courses for young people aged 15 -25 years. For the disabled youth, they have put effort to make training centres accessible, through building modifications and adapted class teaching methods.
The 4 Success Factors
The examples shared and others have more in common than a collective mission to bring TVET to SEN Students.
Here is how they did that and how it can be replicated for success.
1. They considered the market
Before creating courses or showcasing skills, first, you need to consider the labour market and government priorities. Identify jobs, opportunities, and business trends help you to fully understand the realities of the marketplace, including hiring biases. This initial investigation will determine the content you offer. Relevant skills lead to better employment for graduates, and an increased number of qualified candidates to fill labour shortages. This win-win situation is a good PR story that can generate interest from investors and corporates looking for CSR programmes.
2. They started small
Unemployment for disabled youth is a big problem so of course inspires big dreams. But you see from all the case studies shared they managed their funds and expenses by starting small. Start by offering one course, host one local event, or take advantage of existing facilities. Observe the results, demonstrate success publically to increase funding, and expand as needs and funds warrant.
3. Offer more than TVET
To be successful in a career individuals need more than hard skills. All the case studies examined offer elements of life, employability, and 21st-century skills development. Graduates that pass out with employable soft skills are more likely to find employment or start their own enterprise. The more employed students you can report means you can generate more awareness and investment.
4. Utilise networking and marketing
By establishing links with businesses, marketing agencies, mainstream educational institutions and the government you can raise awareness and broaden employment opportunities – both vital for investment and student enrolment numbers. Public education campaigns are hugely beneficial to create a more open, disability-friendly environment.
The goal of TVET education for students with disabilities is to improve their life prospects, for themselves and future generations, by becoming active members of society. Better awareness, access, and investment are essential to achieving this goal.
The examples and suggestions are not meant to be examples of best international standards, or an exhausted list of success factors. However, they do demonstrate effective efforts that create impact. Sharing more examples of this type of work can lead to greater awareness and action through replication. As the saying goes “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.