3. Laws, plans, policies and programmes
6. Teachers and support personnel
The Ten-Year Education Programme in Guinea (ProDEG in French) places children with disabilities with other children, who are considered not to have disabilities, in the same schools and classrooms while combining the best conditions to cater to them and allow them to study (school buildings, adapted curricula and teaching tools, medical visits, hygiene kits, etc.). This strategy constitutes an operational definition of inclusion, so to speak, which focuses primarily on students with disabilities. However, the country does not seem to have adopted a conclusive definition of "inclusive education" in official documents at present. "Children with special educational needs" refers to students with disabilities.
There are some specialized schools in Guinea (under the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Affairs) for students who are hard of hearing, deaf, visually impaired, blind, autistic, epileptic, etc. For example, the Boulbinet School for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons, the Ratoma School for Blind and Visually Impaired Persons, the Kankan Institute for Young Blind People and the multipurpose Nimba Centre in Matoto. These specialized schools generally cover only the elementary education sector and possibly preschool. However, the new ten-year programme states that specialized schools will be responsible for the entire education system, from kindergarten to university.
Article 1 of the Constitution provides that: "Guinea [...] ensures the equality of all citizens in the eyes of the law regardless of origin, race, ethnicity, gender, religion or opinion. It respects all beliefs. [...] No one shall be privileged or disadvantaged by reason of birth, race, ethnicity, language, creed or political, philosophical or religious opinions. In Guinea, in order to make education for all a reality, the education and training of people outside the education system (children with disabilities, child guides, street children, etc.) are rights that must be taken into account in Guinea’s Ten-Year Education Programme (ProDEG 2019–2028).
With this in mind, the 2008–2015 and 2015–2017 (extended to 2018) Education Sector Programmes aim to target actions to progressively correct disparities linked to gender, area and income, and to avoid exclusion. The Education Sector Policy Letter 2015–2017 aims to "develop a quality inclusive education system capable of producing human capital that meets the needs of the informal and modern sectors of the economy." Moreover, the January 2018 national policy document on literacy and non-formal education (link not available) drawn up by the National Literacy Directorate identifies various target groups. These include out-of-school young people and adults aged 15 and over, illiterate workers in the modern and informal sectors, children and teenagers who are out of school or who have dropped out of school, people in difficult situations (young people on the street or in conflict with the law, displaced persons, refugees, etc.), learners from Koranic homes, children of nomadic populations and persons with disabilities.
Article 19 of the Constitution states that "persons with disabilities are entitled to the assistance and protection of the State, communities and society". The Education Sector Programmes 2008–2015 and 2015–2017 have put measures in place for the schooling of children with disabilities: "...a per-student grant of 10 per cent of the costs associated with each student [...] will also be extended to children with disabilities (visually impaired or blind / deaf or hearing impaired) under a special education programme." However, it is difficult to assess the scope and impact of this guidance. In the Education Sector Policy Letter 2020–2029 (link not available), the Government commits to adapting curricula, infrastructure and equipment for persons with disabilities.
The World Bank's Development of Inclusive Education in Guinea project aimed to increase access to mainstream primary schools and pre-schools for children with mild disabilities and to install latrines in pilot schools. It is also difficult to assess the practical impact of these two projects. Finally, Education International has also carried out inclusive special education pilot projects aimed at integrating children with mild impairments into the mainstream school system in 17 prefectures and in the special zone of Conakry.
Article 8 of the Constitution states that "men and women have the same rights". With this in mind, the State adopted the Education Act (1989), which serves as a reference framework for the Ministry of Education’s various plans. This act aims to eliminate disparities between girls and boys.
According to the 2015 Education for All National Review, the Government aimed to expand the tutoring programme for girls with learning difficulties and to provide girls with school supply kits and uniforms. The Filles éduquées réussissent [Educated Girls Succeed – FIERE] approach targets girls in the fifth and sixth grades facing educational and social challenges. The co-educational NAFA [rural second-chance] centres welcome a number of girls aged 9 to 14 who left school at a young age and those who have never attended school. These centres act as bridges between the formal and non-formal systems. The Pooled-Fund for Basic Education Project is helping revitalize these centres, develop programmes and acquire equipment, teaching materials and school supplies. UNICEF also supports the NAFA centres with materials, ad hoc assistance and consultations with the Ministry of Education.
Finally, it should be noted that 70 per cent of the 100,000+ participants in the various literacy programmes run in 2010–2012 and 2016–2019 were women and girls.
Ethnic and linguistic groups
There are several local languages and dialects in Guinea. This linguistic diversity is a product of the country’s ethnic groups and natural regions. Eight national languages are officially recognized and codified by the Institut national de recheche en linguistique appliquée [National Research Institute of Applied Linguistics – IRLA]: namely Soso, Maninkakan, Poular, Pkèlè, Lomagoe, Kissiei, Wamey and Onéan. French is the official language. Other languages such as Baga, Koniagui, Kuranko, Lélé, Bassari and Badiaranké are considered to be dialectal variants of the national languages. There are, however, few policies for the inclusion of vulnerable ethnic and linguistic groups. Literacy is taught in all national languages. The promotion of endangered indigenous languages is one of the Government’s priorities.
Rural or remote areas
The 1989 Education Act (link not available) aims to eliminate disparities between urban and rural areas. The new ten-year programme also prioritizes equitable access to general education in all regions of the country. Prior work in this area involved creating several three-class schools and mixed-grade classes and creating single-class schools in villages with fewer than 500 inhabitants. In addition, the Pooled-Fund for Basic Education Project has built 13 single-class schools as an experiment. Studies for their opening are under way. The ten-year programme also aims to expand school canteens in very poor villages and to create preschool classes.
The Government produced the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper in 2011–2012, which aims to build the capacity of gender and equity committees in the education sector. The Education for All National Review 2015 document also identified certain measures to ensure that this vulnerable group is included and better retained at the elementary level, notably by building new schools, recruiting more teachers, giving area bonuses to teachers to attract and retain them in challenging districts, setting up canteens, and distributing school supply kits.
Education is the responsibility of the Minister of National Education and Literacy, while the education of learners with disabilities is the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Action, Promotion of Women and Children. Partnerships have also been established with other ministries and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for the design of the next Ten-Year Education Programme 2019–2028. In fact, a working session was held between executives of the Ministry of Social Action, Promotion of Women and Children, the Ministry of Technical Education, Vocational Training, Employment and Labour, UNICEF, GIZ, Plan International Guinea and ChildFund. That said, in practice it is mainly NGOs that help set up inclusive education projects (which, it should be noted, are financed in part by the International Development Association and the African Development Bank).
The Ministry of Education's Resettlement Policy Framework, which guided the most recent Ten-Year Education Programme, stresses the need for primary school designs for areas with low land pressure to include "three classrooms, a headmaster's office with storage, separate latrines for girls and boys, and an improved water point". This framework estimates the cost of the work at USD 11,000 per classroom. The Education for All National Review 2015 also supported the construction of latrines and ramps in 144 schools. School kits, visual dictionaries and teaching aids for children with disabilities have been acquired. However, even today, schools equipped with lifts and ramps are rare or non-existent, which limits access for students who use a wheelchair in particular. Today, all schools built by the Education Sector Plan/the Pooled-Fund for Basic Education Project between 2016 and 2019 have ramps and toilets that are accessible to people with limited mobility.
The National Economic and Social Development Plan 2016–2020 maintains that "the Government plans to use national languages in the process of improving students’ learning from the first years of schooling."
Teaching materials and equipment
The Education Sector Programme 2015–2017 states that all strategies will take into account the "inclusive education" dimension in order to enrol as many children with disabilities as possible. In particular, these strategies consist of developing training modules that cover different methodologies, the gender approach, active pedagogy and life skills. Moreover, the ministries are responsible for choosing textbooks, which limits the diversification of training opportunities. The Ten-Year Education Programme for Guinea also sets out plans for adapting the teaching and learning environment to the specific needs of children with disabilities. A protocol for material, human and technical assistance has been drawn up and adapted. Inclusive education is integrated into decision-making by the various stakeholders.
Despite the country's nine teacher training colleges (Conakry, Boké, Kaloum, Dubréka, Kindia, Labé, Faranah, Kankan and N'Zérékoré), few courses or teacher training programmes are geared towards inclusive education. In this regard, there is no school that provides training for preschool teachers or specialized social workers on disability and gifted students.
A State Report on National Education was prepared between 2015 and 2017 and was one of the key documents used to develop the Ten-Year Education Programme in Guinea 2019–2028. This report covers all aspects of education in Guinea from 2006 to 2017. Its recommendations include providing training to preschool teachers and all elementary school teachers on methods and techniques for supporting persons with disabilities to ensure inclusive education.
That being said, the 2008–2015 and 2015–2017 Education Sector Programmes have identified some monitoring indicators on inclusion, including the gender parity index at primary and general secondary levels, the percentage of primary school students with disabilities, the rural-urban parity index, the gross enrolment rate at secondary schools in rural areas and the number of learners in NAFA centres. Finally, the World Bank, in its Development of Inclusive Education in Guinea project, has identified other indicators including the number of: children with mild disabilities attending schools in targeted areas; trainers and teachers who are trained in special education programmes; schools providing a supportive learning environment for children with mild disabilities; and parents, community members and other key stakeholders who have been made aware of the situation of children with disabilities.