JOMBANG, JAWA TIMUR – MI Islamiyah Alwathaniyah is one of the partner madrasah of USAID PRIORITAS in Jombang District. This madrasah has three study programs, which are a regular class, an international class and an inclusive education class. It also provides a native speaker to improve the quality of the students' English language and as a teacher in the international classes.
The madrasah has 253 students, of which 26 are special needs students. Specifically, one student has hearing difficulties, eight students are hyperactive, and 17 students have learning difficulties.
Abd. Fattah SS, the principal of the madrasah who is still young and energetic, studied inclusive education for six months at the Madania School, in Parung, Bogor, which operates under the auspices of the Paramadina University.
The implementation of the inclusive education system starts with registration. All children registering are received if there are still places for them. Every parent who comes to enroll their children has to undergo an interview process with their child. This is to determine the ability of each child so that the madrasah can determine the policy and learning strategies appropriate for them. In this way, it is hoped that each child can learn according to their needs.
The strategy adopted by this madrasah to give learning services to special needs students include:
- Lessons in grades I to III are supported by two teachers using a team teaching model. One teacher delivers material to all the students and the other teacher helps the special needs students so that they can take part in the learning processes.
- There are sessions on parenting for the parents of special needs students. Starting from when the children enter the madrasah, and lasting for six months, the parents receive assistance through the class parents' groups (paguyuban kelas). The goal is to enable there to be a common understanding between the madrasah and the parents.
- A book functions as a means of communication between teachers and the parents of special needs students. Teachers and parents can see the progress of the students, both at home and at the school. This is to make it easier to take steps to provide further guidance.
- The madrasah also provides special classes for extra study for the special needs students and other students who have difficulties or who have missed classes.
- There is a program to develop the talents of children according to each one's abilities and interests.
There was an interesting episode that demonstrated the principal's commitment to providing learning services for special needs students. At the time the parents found out that the madrasah would receive special needs students, many of them did not understand about such students and about inclusive education, and threatened to remove their children from the school. But the principal chose to keep the special needs students.
The way he saw it, non-special needs students could easily look for another madrasah, while special needs students would have trouble finding another madrasah as not all of them would be able to accept such students. Over time, and after seeing the positive impact of the madrasah program, the parents now accept the special needs program.
This madrasah also involves the special needs students in competitions right up to the national level. At an event called "Joyful Camp" in December 2015, which was attended by international schools from throughout Indonesia, this madrasah managed to win nine trophies, two of which were won by Gunawan Syahputra, a special needs student who is hyperactive and has learning difficulties. He was the champion in the math contest, and Muhammad Hidayat Roudlatul, a special needs student with limited vision, became the champion of story telling. (Wsa)