Yakup Beret is a counselor. He worked at the Counseling Research Center (RAM) in Diyarbakır for three years. He is now at the Diyarbakır Six Points Association of the Blind.
We’ve spoken with Berent about the state of the Education Support for Individuals with Disabilities program in Diyarbakır.
Berent explained the general system, listed the problems and possible solutions , and called out to parents in particular.
“The parents have to be sensitive and the inspections should be carried out properly. It is hard to say that similar irregularities are not seen in overall Turkey. Receiving payment for a dead student for three months is the most obvious proof that.”
Berent says there are more than 60 rehabilitation centers in Diyarbakır and each center receives an allowance of at least 100,000 TL (25000 Euros) per month, and they are not inspected properly.
“Imagine that they conduct visits door-to-door, consume diesel oil, and receive extra personnel and shuttles. Believe me that if the palm scanning system is implemented, the number of education centers will be halved.
“Because there are many unrecorded students who sit at home and don’t attend their studies but the centers still receive grants for them. These centers cannot take such risks after inspections begin. Some of these centers will be closed and some others will merge with each other.
“A child sits at home and the rehabilitation center doesn’t pick the student up from his/her home with a shuttle. In exchange for a small allowance, the families are persuaded, and after receiving the documents signed by the parents from month to month, it shows on paper that they provide education”.
For this reason, Berent finds it important that a biometric identity verification or camera surveillance system be implemented as as it appeared in the 9 December 2016 issue of the Republic of Turkey Official Newspaper
Problem of experts
Berent thinks the problem is not limited to private rehabilitation and education centers. He also draws attention to the issues experienced in education and regarding staff for the individuals with disabilities.
“The expert staff carrying out the inspections are also inadequate. The number of teachers and inspectors who graduated from the area of special education is very limited in Turkey. You cannot find even five people who have command in the area.
“How will the inspection and supervision be done in this area? Students’ area of education, the curriculum, the syllabus and their social life must definitely be inspected. It must definitely be inspected whether the teachers are experts or have comprehensive knowledge of the area or not”.
Berent advocates that the inclusion system, which enables students with disabilities to receive education with their peers with no disabilities, is more useful than the private rehabilitation and education centers.
With data from preschool, primary and secondary school data in 2014-2015 combined, it is the case that 182,917 students made use of the inclusion system regulated through the legislation.
“The number of students who attend the available classes at schools is fixed now. You are allowed to take only two inclusion students into a class with 20 students according the Ministry of National Education. If you have an autistic student, a maximum of two autistic students can receive education in one class. A third one is not allowed but additional courses can be opened. Extra teachers can be trained, extra schools can be opened.”
Quality would be discussed
Berent advocates that private schools can be opened with the fund transferred to the private rehabilitation centers: “As overall Turkey is considered, these schools to be opened within the body of the Ministry of National Education can provide education for people with disabilities. We would then be discussing the education quality rather than these abuses”.
Believing that the problems with the education for people with disabilities can be reduced to minimum with schools and the inclusion system, Berent’s suggestions are as follows:
A separate room for special education class must be established at the future schools. School principals have to review physical conditions by taking people with disabilities into consideration at the present schools. Supplementary support education that the child receives at rehabilitation center has to be monitored.
The Ministry of National Education provincial and district directorates must increase the frequency of inspections of private rehabilitation and education centers. Palm scanning system must definitely be popularized.
For instance, there is no high school for people having impaired hearing in Diyarbakır. The students are transferred to Elazığ or Van. There is secondary school for people having impaired hearing in Diyarbakır, so why not turn two or three classes and provide a high school education. Why do we detach the child from his/her social life and send him/her to another city. These steps must be taken for education of people with disabilities. The school problem must be solved in every city due to the disability condition. (RB-LA/NU/HK)
UNEMPLOYED JOURNALISTS CHASING NEWS
* The "Unemployed Journalists Chasing News" project is being realized with the financial support of Matra-Human Rights Program of Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.