UNITED NATIONS – Perkins School for the Blind yesterday launched an ambitious new effort to train 1 million teachers around the world by 2030.
In an announcement at the United Nations, Perkins International Academy was officially unveiled as a sustainable, measurable solution to the global shortage of qualified special educators.
The new training program is designed to equip teachers in developing nations with the knowledge and skills they need to effectively teach children with multiple disabilities and deafblindness, who are among the world’s most vulnerable and least likely to receive an education.
The launch of Perkins International Academy coincides with the U.N.’s ongoing push to provide a quality, inclusive education for all learners – including those with multiple disabilities – by the year 2030 as part of Sustainable Development Goal 4.
“Perkins International Academy will serve as a catalyst for governments, educators and communities to achieve measurable progress toward providing every child with the quality education they deserve,” said Perkins President and CEO Dave Power. “We have the capability to help government ministries and the international community meet their commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals. Six million children and young adults around the world are counting on it.”
The need for global teacher training solutions is urgent. There are currently 6 million children and young adults (ages 0-24) around the world with multiple disabilities and visual impairment in need of special education.
In countries with scarce resources, educational programs for children with multiple disabilities are often insufficient or nonexistent.
“There are still places in the world that harbor the misperception that children with multiple disabilities cannot learn, which could not be further from the truth,” said Perkins International Executive Director Michael Delaney. “Dispelling such false perceptions and demonstrating the true potential of each child is where our challenge lies. Through Perkins International Academy – and the partnerships we are building around the world – we are confident that training 1 million teachers by 2030 is a reachable goal.”
The Perkins International Academy curriculum is intensive. Successful participants earn Perkins certificates verifying their competency to deliver high-quality special education services. The first pilot courses, held in Argentina and India, were completed in December 2016.
Yesterday’s announcement came during a U.N. panel hosted by Perkins that explored global strategies for educating children with multiple disabilities.
The panel featured expert special educators and disability advocates, including H.E. Juan José Gómez Camacho, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the U.N.
“Every United Nations member state has a moral and practical responsibility to improve educational opportunities for all children,” said Gómez Camacho. “Promoting and embracing global access to quality education for our most vulnerable children moves us all forward toward a more inclusive society.”