29 Jun Indonesia is Not Ready for Special Needs Education: 3 Minutes Reading of Harsh Inequality
Special needs education is necessary as cases of children born with special needs is quite inevitable. Children didn’t ask to born with disability and neither does parents have full control of newborn’s mental and physical health. Regardless, every children deserve treatment suitable for their personal needs. Education is an important needs for everyone, especially children as they need education to improve and grow as a human being. Unfortunately, Indonesia (and perhaps some other countries too) is unprepared in terms of special needs education.
Disability in Indonesia
The number of people with certain disabilities is somehow different from many sources. Based on National Social Economy Suvey in 2018, there is about 30 millions of people with disability in Indonesia, roughly 14.2% of the entire population. Based on Unified Data of Social Welfare, there is about 1,3 millions of people with disability, this data is specified to plan a program and identify the name and address of the program recipient. Based on Information System of the Disabled, there are 197.582 of people with disability (data of March 2020).
Public facilities that helps the disabled surely exist in Indonesia, but definetly in need of major improvements. This article focuses on education facility, special needs education facility in which children with disability can get equal education but with special treatment to support their special needs. In Indonesia, there are schools in which specialized to handle children born with special needs, it was referred as Sekolah Luar Biasa (Extraordinary School). The school which accept physically and mentally challenged students.
The number of students which received special needs education in extraordinary schools are about 144.621 students (academic year of 2020/2021). From that number, there are 82.326 special needs students in elementary school level, 36.884 special needs students in middle school level, and 25.411 special needs students in high school level. In reality, handling kids with special needs is a tough job, and Indonesia might not be up to the task just yet, the next part will identify the problems in Indonesian special needs education.
Extraordinary Schools seems like a good facility to deliver special needs education, but unfortunately, it has so limited seats that it would not contained the entire special needs children in Indonesia. To try to make up for it, the govenment ask public schools to provide inclusive education for these special needs children. Inclusive education means that schools had to provide education to children regardless of health conditions, intellegence, social, emotional, linguistic and other conditions they might carry.
This however has been proven to be a bad idea as public schools is not yet ready to provide special needs education. It was unready in many factors, education, curriculum, facility, and the special needs children who’s having difficulties to addapt with their classmate. Public schools that provide inclusive education is not that many, and even those who did provide it, is not actually ready for special needs education just yet. Like the lacking of special needs teacher that undergone trainings to handle special needs children.
Under the same topic, you might also want to read: Disability Equality: 2 Simple Steps to Ensure The Rights of Disabled Students
If there is no special ed teacher around, school is forced to assign regular teacher to mentor these special needs children. As result, these teachers has no idea how to handle special needs students when their conditions is acting up, special needs education is surely no easy task. European countries has more capabilities in terms of inclusive education and delivering special needs education. It was because their educational institutions has done in-depth research and is deemed completely ready before they start to implement inclusive education.
Indonesia however, start to implement inclusive education even before the public schools has the complete readiness to do so, while inclusive education in European countries prioritize a lot on teacher’s readiness to determine the success of the program. Another issue is the lack of proper facility and infrastructure, special ed students needs learning facilities that supports their special needs. Because of these inclusive education is not ready enough, special needs education does not work, and the special needs student completely struggling to study.
Based on the factors above, we might be able to fix inclusive education or special needs education in general, in the future. We could start by increasing the number of qualified special needs teacher that went to a specific training to handle mentally challenged kids, and to increase the number and the effectiveness of inclusive education’s facility and infrastructure that actually supports their learning process. With proper special needs education, we can reduce inequalities in education sector, experienced by special needs children.