The University of Guyana Disability Task Force, with support from UNICEF, organized a series of working sessions around the theme “Embracing Inclusion, Diversity and Equity at UG” from October 16 to November 13.
The aim of the series is to frame the University of Guyana’s approach to inclusive education and provide guidelines for applying its principles and practices across its campuses, taking into account the diversity of all individuals in the university community and those who interact with it, regardless of ability, background, religion, culture, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, political affiliation, disability, marital status, national origin and socioeconomic status.
On this occasion and thanks to the leadership of Roslin Kahn, representative of Guyana in KIX LAC, SUMMA – KIX LAC was invited to participate in this meeting headed by its director Javier Gonzalez, to present the work being carried out on inclusion, equity and equality in education in Latin America and the Caribbean and the results presented in the GEM Report, conducted together with UNESCO in 2020. González thanked the dean for the invitation and introduced by highlighting the importance of including diversity as a priority issue in education systems, respecting the particularity of different life experiences and the social, economic, political and educational injustices that each context presents. “We live in the most unequal region in the world, with historical inequities, especially in education, which translates into inequity and little progress.
Gonzalez also reaffirmed the commitment of educational institutions in the construction of a society with social justice, “education must allow the expansion of people’s freedoms, and we must ask ourselves how we can expand these freedoms and opportunities for children so that they can have different alternatives in life. We must provide access without discrimination, the right to education, adapt educational systems and teaching processes to the contexts, to the territories of each one, to build on diversity”.
The University of Guyana’s inclusion policy adopts the principles of the Social Model of Disability (Oliver, 1990, 2008, 2008, 2009, 2013), where it is recognized that impairment can also become disability through experiences of structural oppression. This includes cultural stereotypes, ethnocentric attitudes, bureaucratic hierarchies, institutional inequalities, discrimination and market mechanisms in society. The policy adopts the principles of multicultural education appropriate for inclusion in a multicultural Guyanese society. It advocates collaborative education and supportive learning structures and systems that address special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) as well as other types of diversity among students and staff of the institution.