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A teachers perspective – Naomi Menion

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Margaret: We’ve just been thinking about the part the education systems play in including or excluding learners. I’m delighted now to be able to introduce you to one of our alumni here at the University of Glasgow. Naomi lived and worked in India prior to coming here to studying with us. And she’s going to share just a little bit about her experiences of living and working in India. So Naomi, tell us a little bit about yourself and of your experience living and working in India. Naomi Well, before coming to the University of Glasgow, I worked in a mainstream school in Bangalore in India. It practised inclusive education. A few practises– and I was the only special educator there.
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My experience as a teacher in India was, it was enlightening, was enriching, as well as very challenging because I wanted to change a lot of things and I couldn’t. I had to stay within the system.
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Margaret: A part of your master’s degree, Naomi, you looked at how international legislation has been implemented in India. And you considered how the Millennium Development Goals, and the Education For All agendas impacted on education. Can you share some of your thoughts and your findings with us?
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Naomi: Well during the course of my study here, I found that a lot of international legislations affected India in terms of the language used in our own policies and our own legislations. But on the ground– on the ground level, there was nothing really that was implemented. A lot of schools have followed their own policies, did not really follow a lot of inclusive education practises. And they found it difficult to do that.
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Margaret: So Naomi, from your experience of living and working in India, in your opinion, which groups of learners are marginalised and excluded from learning in India?
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Naomi: Well I believe that there are three groups of learners that are marginalised in India from the education system. One of them is the female, the girl child. The other is the Dalits, the lowest caste. And the third is children with disabilities. These three groups are slowly being included in the education system, but not at a fast enough rate.
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Margaret: What do you think are the biggest challenges facing teachers in India as they try to include learners into the classroom?
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Naomi: The biggest challenge in India today is– facing teachers today is their own attitudes, is the societal attitudes, and our own policies in schools. That’s what I think effects teachers, and even if they want to include all learners in a classroom, they’re not able to. They don’t have the resources, they don’t have the necessary tools, and their own education programmes do not equip them enough to deal with– to work with children with all kinds of problems or issues.
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Margaret: So having said all of this Naomi, what do you think will make a difference to education in India?
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Naomi: I think the biggest change that needs to come in India, in terms of the education system, is that there should be no class and caste divide between our schools, between the structure in our schools. We should have one public system that serves and that provides education to all learners. And that’s where we can also include– we can practise inclusive education. I believe that now going back to India after finishing this course at the University will equip me– will help me bring about those challenges, will help me face those difficulties in creating a more inclusive education system. And I am very excited to go back and do that.
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Margaret: Naomi, thank you very much for sharing with us. I think your talk is highlighted very much that gap that can exist between policy and practise. And these are things that we are picking up on throughout the three weeks of this online course. So thank you very, very much.

From 2000-2015 countries across the globe were striving to meet Millennium Development Goal 2 – Universal Primary Education for All.

In this video we hear from Naomi, a special educator in India as she shares some of the issues she has faced when trying to ensure education for all.

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