It is often seen that in Bhutan, people with disabilities are excluded from the general education system and are placed in monastic institutions. Monastic institutions BBS talked to say, that over the years, an increasing number of people with disabilities have joined monastic institutions across the country. To help monastic institutions provide comprehensive service and care, the Monastic Council for Education and Research Secretariat under the Central Monastic Body conducted a two-day Disability Equality workshop in Thimphu.
Currently, teachers in monastic institutions use their personal experience and knowledge to deal with monks with disabilities. They were never trained about the challenges faced by people living with disabilities and ways to understand them.
“I have experience of dealing with people with disability. I do not have any knowledge nor do I understand the types of disability. From this programme, I understood the methods to teach, to deal with, and to understand them better,” said Rinzin Dorji, a lecturer with Rinchenling Shedra in Wangdue Phodrang.
The Disabled People’s Organisation and the Ministry of Education and Skills Development trained some 26 representatives from various religious institutes under the Central Monastic Body.
The participants were taught to treat people with disabilities with the same level of formality as everyone else, to ask them first before helping and to make accessibility a priority among others.
“We provide training on how to deal with people living with disability to the lecturers and teachers from different monastic schools,” said Khenpo Kinga Penjor, a secretary to the Monastic Council for Education and Research.
Pema Chogyal, a Programme Officer with the ECCD & SEN Division said, “we shared how to implement and organise inclusive education for people living with disability to participants assembled here.”
“From this workshop, I learned how to support and guide people living with a disability. Giving guidance is very important as we have students with disabilities,” said Tashi Dawa, a lecturer with Pelden Tashichoeling Shedra in Chhukha.
The two-day training, which was supported by UNICEF ended yesterday.
Ngawang Tenzin/Tshering Wangchuk
Edited by Sangay Chezom