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Cover Story: Generating awareness about learning differences

Close to 28,000 Global Citizens support MGIEP’s campaign for inclusive education

Radhika Bhatnagar
Public Information Officer, UNESCO MGIEP
Photo copyright belongs to Global Citizen India

Global Citizen India Festival

Global-Citizens_Small-1The much-anticipated first edition of the Global Citizen India Festival, held in Mumbai on November 19, 2016, saw 80,000 young people from across India join forces with political representatives and leaders to bring about real change to India and the world.

Leaders from the local, state and federal governments came together on stage at the festival, as well as in video appearances and in messages to address Global Citizens watching around the world and motivate them to commit to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on Quality Education (SDG 4), Gender Equality (SDG 5) and Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6).

Those physically present at the festival represented the voice of a much larger community – in just two months, more than 500,000 youths in India took more than 200,000 actions calling on political, religious and business leaders along with celebrities to be more accountable on the issues of education, gender equality, and water and sanitation. Festival attendees represented the most active of these youths, with tickets being issued only to those who had earned enough points by completing various action journeys.


Inclusive Education Journey

Learning difficulties, unlike physical disabilities, cannot be easily seen and detected hence, we call this The Seen Unseen

UNESCO MGIEP partnered with Global Citizen India to create a unique SDG 4 Inclusive Education Journey to advocate for difference learners – those one in six people worldwide who require educational materials, teacher delivery and learning assessments to be different from standard education models and practices. Difference learning includes the following diagnoses (also known as the “Four Ds”): dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia. Learning difficulties, unlike physical disabilities, cannot be easily seen and detected hence, we call this The Seen Unseen.

The MGIEP journey required them to sign a petition to the Ministers of Education asking them to include the needs of different learners in the New Education Policy as well as tweet to them the following:

Global-Citizens_Tweet-icon#EducationMinistersofIndia. Please recognize the need for universal screening tests and trained teachers for different learners.

The difference learning programme at MGIEP plans to bolster its commitment towards inclusive education in a number of ways. Among them will be the soon

to be launched “Sixth Space”, a free, online resource aimed at providing parents, teachers and students with information, tools and advice related to learning differences. The unique platform aims to close information gaps that exist due to limited certified and credible resources available. There is lack in information:

  1. About the issue
  2. About doctors, psychologists, assessments and tests that are available
  3. About facilities and technological interventions that are available
  4. About relevant policies and government actors.

Sixth Space will be an open source, digital one-stop repository of all information related to difference learning, and will have the following features:

  1. Research-based content – to develop and distribute innovative, high-quality, evidence-based, open-source materials for diagnosis, intervention and assessment.
  2. Allies through training – to mainstream high-quality content by training educators, families and other supporters of difference learners to use it.
  3. Community through communication centres – Establish a network of communication centres to be hubs of information and support around difference learning.
  4. Stronger schools and teachers – Encourage educators and school leaders to find innovative methods of reaching and teaching difference learners.
  5. Youth voice – Create and promote a network of students trained to advocate for their rights and for their peers.
  6. Polices and institutions – Pass policies at the international, national and local level that strengthen support for difference learners.

UNESCO MGIEP will also be hosting a webinar by Dr. Michael Hart on Dyslexia: Beyond Phonological Awareness in February/March 2017


Cover Story
Youth Voices

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THE BLUE DOT features articles showcasing UNESCO MGIEP’s activities
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