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Educational institutions ought to remember that inclusivity is a best practice for composite progress.

“The issue of inclusivity of children with special needs within the mainstream schools continues to gather more relevance in the context of UAE’s alignment of its national agenda for education and for people with special needs, said the English language daily ‘Gulf News’ in a commentary today.

“Both themes are of core importance for the country’s Vision 2021. While there exists a valid argument for providing a specific environment for special needs children with severe learning disabilities, in the form of special needs centres, there are also a large number of children with mild learning disabilities who would benefit immensely by adapting to a mainstream school, but are unable to gain entry because mainstream schools are still wary of making the transition to a more inclusive platform,” the paper noted.

“This state of mind,” it went on, “needs to change. The more the delay on behalf of schools in becoming transformative agents for social change, the greater the loss of momentum for the UAE in ushering in a new chapter in inclusivity. Inclusivity is not a fuzzy ideal. It is a best-practice and a practical demonstration of how societies can become healthy, composite units of progress.” The paper concluded by saying: “It is time mainstream schools in the UAE are aligned with the country’s agenda and invest in training teachers to deal with pupils of varying needs. They must adopt a broader view of their responsibilities in pursuit of their academic goals. Prolonging the status quo is a poor option.”