The Education Sector Plan 2014–2025 stipulates that inclusion often concerns students who have functional limitations or who are perceived to have “special educational needs”. This includes children living in rural areas, children from disadvantaged backgrounds and children with disabilities.
In the training guide on inclusive education validated by the Ministry of Primary, Secondary and Vocational Education, Humanity & Inclusion Togo defines inclusive education as “an education system that takes into account the particular teaching and learning needs of all vulnerable and marginalized children and young people: street children, girls, children from an ethnic minority background, children from low-income families, nomadic children, children with disabilities, etc. Inclusive education refers to the set of measures that a school must take to be accessible to all these children.”
Special education is widely available in Togo. The Education Sector Plan 2014–2025 mainly fosters “inclusive education” through subsidies to special schools and teacher training on disabilities. Special education can be provided by faith-based organizations or associations. Children with disabilities are educated in a separate learning environment that usually caters for a particular type of disability: children with visual impairments or hearing impairments. Examples include the Institute for the Blind in Togoville, the Institute for the Blind in Attéda, the Saint Paul Centre in Kara and the Center for Specialized Education for the Blind (CESA) in Lomé.
The Education Sector Plan 2014–2025 nevertheless provides a framework for the reintegration of existing mainstream and specialized classrooms and sets out plans to adopt a functionally inclusive education model by 2016, based on the model piloted in the Savanes and Kara regions (with a focus on the inclusion of persons with disabilities). To this end, this model is currently being piloted in the Savanes, Kara, Centrale and Plateaux regions. The new programme sets out actions related both to making schools accessible to children with special needs (awareness-raising, construction of access ramps, etc.) and to specific pedagogical practices (teacher training on inclusive education, Braille and sign language, etc.). Moreover, there are plans to introduce a system of visiting teachers to support children with disabilities in schools. The pilot project currently under way will also be trialled in rural areas. It will then be evaluated and a model adopted by the Ministry of Primary, Secondary and Vocational Education before 2016 to improve the inclusion of these children in the Togolese education system.
There is strong collaboration between special and mainstream schools through open days and practical training.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is supporting the adoption of the inclusive education model set out in the Education Sector Plan.
Section 8 of Act No. 2004-2005 on the Social Welfare of Persons with Disabilities, states that persons with disabilities have the right to an education either at mainstream schools or at specialized institutions and that they can receive financial support for education and accommodation. Article 10 concerns educational programmes and adapted examinations. Article 258 of the 2007 Children's Code states that “children with disabilities have the right to attend special schooling, education and vocational training programmes [and that] study grants [may be awarded] to students with disabilities, as may State subsidies for training and apprenticeship centres catering for young people with disabilities.”
The Education Sector Plan 2010–2020 set out plans for, in particular, the development and implementation of policies to identify and care for vulnerable children and children with disabilities, and the construction of 1,070 new fitted-out accessible classrooms (with offices, storage and toilets) per year in the public primary education sector.” At this stage, it is difficult to assess the progress of these plans. The Education Sector Plan 2014–2025 provides a strong framework for inclusive education through its support for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), one example being the Association of Parents and Friends of People with Encephalopathy (APAPE)’s project, which aims to promote inclusion and respect for the rights of children with disabilities. Humanity & Inclusion has launched projects to provide an education to deaf and hard-of-hearing children in Lomé and Savanes, and integrated education in mainstream schools to children with Down syndrome.
Humanity & Inclusion has also set up a network of 14 visiting teachers who currently support 225 children with disabilities attending mainstream schools in the Savanes region. These teachers, who are only occasionally present in the classroom, transcribe tests into Braille, raise the awareness of school principals about the need to adapt examinations, and translate instructions into sign language, among other activities. The number of children benefiting from this support has increased in Dapaong. This initiative has also enabled children without disabilities to learn sign language so that they can interact with their hard-of-hearing peers.
In 2012–2013, Humanity & Inclusion also ran the Inclusive Education in Togo project, which enabled 815 children with disabilities to attend primary school, and 200 children to have a medical consultation. Humanity & Inclusion has also run a number of projects since 2009 to promote the right to education for children with disabilities. Their Promoting the Full Participation of Children with Disabilities in Education (2012–2014) project aimed to enable children with disabilities to enjoy their right to education through inclusive education.
Inclusive education has been promoted by various bodies over recent years, including the European Union, UNICEF, the French Development Agency and Educate a Child. The Togolese National Coalition for Education for All is currently overseeing the implementation of a three-year pilot project on the inclusion of children with disabilities in 32 schools in the Habo prefecture.
Lastly, since 2013, the Gruppo San Francesco d'Assisi [St Francesco of Assisi Group] has been running a Project for the Integration of the Blind that supports a group of blind students at the universities of Lomé and Kara, the Services de Formation et de Réhabilitation des Aveugles et Autres Handicapés [Training and Rehabilitation Services for Blind and Disabled People – SEFRAH] Centre in Dapaong, the CASPAK Institute in Kara, the Institut de Formation et de Réadaptation des Aveugles et Malvoyants [Institute for the Training and Rehabilitation of Blind and Visually Impaired People – IFRAM] in Sokodé and CESA in Lomé.
The Education Sector Plan 2014–2025 encourages girls to pursue industrial training by covering part of the costs. It sets out plans to pilot a system to improve girls’ access and retention between primary and secondary school. The plan also sets out a support system for girls in disadvantaged areas (scholarships, school kits – laptop, printer, information and communications technology [ICT] training, uniforms, etc.) and that a fund financed by the State and partners could be set up for this purpose.
Togo adopted Act No. 84-14 on the protection of girls and boys enrolled at an educational institution or vocational training centre in 1984.
As regards NGO-led initiatives, Plan International has implemented a project to promote the enrolment of girls through the reform of secondary schools (2014–2017) in the Plateaux region. This project aims, among other things, to build 15 public secondary schools for 400 students (with 200 separate toilets) and to train teachers and principals on gender equality, inclusive education and non-violent teaching methods.
Ethnicity and languages
The Education Sector Plan 2014–2025 provides a framework for a study on teaching in the national languages. It also seeks to “develop mother tongues through research, standardization and the creation of a framework for consultation on the formalization of the policy on national languages, so that these languages can be used in literacy programmes”. To this end, three mother tongues will be standardized and three textbooks developed per language. The plan also calls for better equipment for language laboratories in schools.
The Education Sector Plan 2014–2025 seeks to expand preschool coverage for rural populations and in the most disadvantaged areas. It also seeks to build community provision in rural areas for 4–5-year-olds, and set up school canteens and 125 community early childhood centres in rural areas.
Since 2009, the Action10 programme has provided sustainable income and resources for the operation of village schools. The French Development Agency (AFD) project to improve sanitary conditions in schools and rural areas (2012–2017) installed 170 boreholes, 166 pumps and 100 separate toilets, with 70,000 people (about 10 per cent of the population) benefiting from improved access to drinking water and sanitation.
Article 35 of the Constitution “assures progressively the gratuity of public education”. The State has, since 2008, provided free public preschool and primary education.
Pursuant to the Poverty Reduction Strategy, the Education Sector Plan 2014–2025 provides that school fees may be waived for students from low-income families (5 per cent of students). It also seeks to stabilize teaching staff numbers in these areas by promoting career advancement (grade, rank, etc.).
At the national level, the Education Sector Plan 2014–2025 calls on a number of ministries to take action on inclusive education: the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and Literacy, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Planning and Regional and Local Government, and the Directorate for Persons with Disabilities in the Ministry of Social Action. The Government has also set up a thematic group on inclusive education headed by a focal point to coordinate existing efforts.
Various NGOs are also involved: Humanity & Inclusion, the Togolese Federation of Associations of Persons with Disabilities (FETAPH), Plan Togo, Christian Blind Mission (CBM), Aide et Action International, the Association Togolaise d'Aide aux Enfants Malentendants et. Sourds [Togolese Association for the Assistance of Hearing-Impaired and Deaf Children – ATAIDEMES], the Togolese Association of the Blind (ATA), the Association Togolaise pour les Droits Scolaires des Personnes Handicapées [Togolese Association for the Educational Rights of Persons with Disabilities – ATDSPH], the Association des Sourds du Togo [Togo Association of Deaf People – AST], and the Togolese National Coalition for Education for All. They play a crucial role in supporting the State sector.
However, initiatives tend to be isolated and there is no clear policy on inclusive education in the strict sense of the term. Moreover, no single body is responsible for planning, evaluating and monitoring inclusive education, which would facilitate coordination of existing efforts.
The Education Sector Plan 2010–2020 provided for the construction of 1,070 new fitted-out accessible classrooms per year in public primary education, 500 new classrooms per year at lower secondary level and 100 new classrooms per year at upper secondary level. Furthermore, the Education Sector Plan 2014–2025 plans to build 418 accessible toilets in 2014, 373 in 2015 and 276 in 2016.
The Ministry of Education's National Primary School Building Strategy (2009) states that “all building designs will be subject [...] to accreditation by an organization specializing in supporting persons with disabilities to ensure that they are accessible and easy to use for students living with a disability”. The technical committee overseeing the project must also take gender into account.
The Education Sector Plan 2010–2020 provides a framework for adapting the curricula to the needs of persons with disabilities and developing literacy materials in national languages. The Project to Integrate Blind People in Togo will produce a collection of maps of Togo in Braille and an atlas for blind students in Togolese schools. This project also provided wooden boxes and plastic nails to schools in Kara, Dapaong and Sokodé for students to practice writing in Braille before moving on to the slate and stylus system.
Article 11 of Act No. 2004-2005 states that anyone responsible for the education of persons with disabilities must receive appropriate training. The Education Sector Plan 2014–2025 therefore provides a framework for 1,415 teachers to receive in-service training on inclusive education and gender. The Directorate of Preschool and Primary Education and Humanity & Inclusion will also train 280 teachers on inclusive education (3 days), 50 teachers on Braille (5 days), 50 teachers on sign language (5 days) and 25 teachers on learning disabilities (3 days). Other initiatives are also under way at the public universities of Lomé and Kara, where teachers and management teams will be trained on inclusive education and tools to support students with disabilities to access and succeed in education. Finally, Humanity & Inclusion Togo and Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa have published a training guide on inclusive education and an Inclusive Education Toolkit for training teachers in inclusive education in Togo, respectively. Both guides aim to raise awareness of inclusive education practices among educational supervisors, parents and organizations.
Competency in inclusive education is mentioned in the teacher training college training curriculum, namely the ability “to manage all categories of students (those with special needs, those with mild disabilities or learning difficulties, gifted students, etc.)”.
Education is not subject to a monitoring report in Togo. However, the Education Sector Plan 2014–2025 defines a set of inclusive education indicators, including:
- number of children living with a disability who attend school
- number of facilities that accommodate people with motor disabilities
- number of curricula that accommodate people with disabilities
- number of deaf or hard-of-hearing learners
- number of villages receiving equipment
- number of local people trained to use equipment
- number of girls receiving school kits
- number of scholarships and uniforms
- number of pupils in disadvantaged areas receiving school uniforms
- number of canteens set up in remote schools and in disadvantaged areas
- number of community centres with canteens
- number of literacy instructors trained
- number of standardized/instrumentalized mother tongues
- number of textbooks by language, etc.
Lastly, it should be noted that a study on the school career of children with disabilities enrolled in mainstream schools is being carried out in 2018 by the Government under the supervision of the thematic group on inclusive education with funding from UNICEF.
This profile has been revised by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE)