November 28, 2017
On November 23, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a Record of Discussions with the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka for the Project for Strengthening Education for Children with Special Needs  through Inclusive Education Approach in Sri Lanka, a technical cooperation project.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka, the project will strengthen the system for promoting enrollment and improve the quality of education for children with disabilities with the aim of promoting inclusive education  within Sri Lanka.
Although Sri Lanka takes pride in having the highest level of statistics in education in South Asia, problems such as the presence of approximately 47,000 out-of-school children  remain unresolved. This must be efficiently addressed in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target for “education for all,” i.e., “By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education.” Having ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities  in February 2016, the Government of Sri Lanka is stepping up its efforts to support such out-of-school children which include children with disabilities. However, accepting children with disabilities in the general education stream remains a challenge because many of teachers lack adequate knowledge about disabilities and have few or no opportunities to learn new practical teaching methods. The Government of Sri Lanka therefore seeks tangible solutions to such issues through Japan’s experience in education children with disabilities, which has a history of more than 130 years, as Japan has achieved the SDG target of “education for all”.
In addition to providing teaching methods for each type of disability, the project aims to promote inclusive education by creating a system in which children with and without disabilities can learn from each other. Reasonable accommodation  includes adjustment of the curriculum and adopting new teaching methods using modern educational materials, or making accessible facilities, and are considered essential for children with disabilities to learn in regular classrooms. It is expected that the project will provide the experience of learning together, children as well as teachers will develop respect for each other and will accept diversity, and the path to an inclusive society will accelerate in Sri Lanka.
For many years, JICA has been dispatching Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers and Senior Volunteers to carry out activities to support persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka. JICA combines such grassroots-level support with other assistance toward realizing a fair, equitable society in which no one is left behind.
|Country||Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka|
|Project title||The Project for Strengthening Education for Children with Special Needs through Inclusive Education Approach in Sri Lanka|
|Planned implementation period||April 2018 to March 2021|
|Executing agency||Ministry of Education of the Government of Sri Lanka|
|Target region, facilities||Colombo District of Western Province, Kurunegala District of North Western Province|
|Specific project details (provisional)||Strengthen the system for promoting enrollment in cooperation with educational and welfare experts involved with children with disabilities, and improve the teaching skills of teachers|
1: The project target is primarily “children with disabilities”. However, according to the phrasing of which is used in documents by the Government of Sri Lanka, we will use the term of “Children with Special Needs” in the project title and related documents.
2: The phrase “inclusive education” refers to a process for transforming the entire educational system to accommodate the needs of all students in education so that a diverse range of students (including the disabled, poor, rural, girls and ethnic minorities) are not excluded from education or learning (UNESCO, 2003).
3: UNESCO: Global Education Monitoring report 2016
4: Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 13, 2006, and in force since May 3, 2008 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan)
5: Article 2 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities provides the following definition: “‘Reasonable accommodation’ means necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure to persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and fundamental freedoms”.