The idea of starting a special needs department at UMUNCÂ was conceived by Ms. Joan Byamugisha with the assistance Mr. Robert Stuart Oyesigye. It was born out of a shared passion for availing people with special needs in Uganda with equal opportunities to education, employment, and social life, as enjoyed by the majority of the population.
UMUNCÂ defines the term â€œspecial needsâ€ as those essential requirements of persons with physical challenges, sensory impairments, and learning difficulties to enable them to lead a decent life. UNESCO identified seven main categories that were classified as special needs, and these are: emotional and behavioural disturbances, severe learning difficulties, physical or motor disabilities, visual impairment, hearing impairment, language disorder, and learning difficulties.
The department would like to promote
â€œSpecial Needs Educationâ€ (SNE), which refers to learning which emphasizes the different educational requirements of persons with special needs, and involves their facilitation according to their individual requirements, with the aim of availing them the same level and quality of education as ordinary students.
The long-term overall objective of the Special Needs Department is to avail people with special needs with the necessary facilities, knowledge and skills for them to lead a fruitful life and become productive citizens in society. The department plans to achieve this by:
(a) Admitting and facilitating special needs students to complete and excel in their studies;
(b) Training teachers and social workers in the area of special needs education and rehabilitation, so as to extend the teaching of special needs students to all schools at all levels of learning; and
(c) Creating awareness within the general population with regard to the dignity, abilities, importance, and economic potential of people with special needs, with the hope that one day all people will be judged solely on merit, and nothing else.
NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LAWS ON SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION
The idea and goal of the department are backed by national and international legal and policy provisions which include:
1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
2. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)
3. The World Declaration on Education for All and Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs (1990, states that every person, youth, and adult should be able to benefit from educational opportunities designed to meet their basic need.;
4. The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education (1994), emphasizes the right of all children, including those with temporary and permanent needs for educational adjustments, to attend school.
5. The Dakar Framework for Action (2000;)
6. United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006;
7. The Disability Act (Uganda, 2006)
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT DEPARTMENT
UMUNC is committed to sensitising itself and the public about conservation and proper management of the environment. Therefore we have come up with the idea of working with the communities around us to promote actions related to community development, environmental awareness and education including proper sorting and disposal of waste, security and others.
The Disability Act (Uganda, 2006)