Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia –December 25, 2015 – The Special Education Department in Dar Al-Hekma University organized an event celebrating the international day of persons with disability. The event was held on 21 December 2016 on the university’s campus. It aimed to celebrate the international day of persons with disabilities by spreading awareness about different disabilities creatively. The Help Center in Jeddah joined us by promoting their annual bazar of goods and handcrafts made by people with Down syndrome.
“Dar Al-Hekma University’s vision is the engine that builds the educational strategic plans that goes hand-in-hand with the Saudi Vision 2030 and the Ministry of Education in delivering education that competes globally and contributes in building the society locally. It is Dar Al-Hekma University’s belief that teachers are the key role for the success of this strategy and the importance of providing equal learning opportunities to all the students. The university sought the latest and most successful special education theories to enable the teachers to graduate community leaders and entrepreneurs regardless of their disadvantages,” said Dr. Suhair Hassan Al-Qurashi, president of Dar Al-Hekma University.
One of the goals of Saudi vision 2030 was “The happiness and fulfillment of citizens and residents is important to us. This can only be achieved through promoting physical, psychological and social well-being. At the heart of our Vision is a society in which all enjoy a good quality of life, a healthy lifestyle and an attractive living environment.” It is role as special educators to promote equality and inclusion for people with disabilities. This is also aligned with the United Nation 17 objectives to transfer our world under the theme of “Sustainable Development Goals in 2016” The UN goal related to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities was goal #4 that states, “Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning” Dar Al-Hekma University core value for this year is maintaining sustainability, where all of DAH community, including the special education program, comes under this value for this year.
There were many activities and one main performance at the event. The activities included one equipment that allowed guests to see and feel what autistic individuals see. The main performance was conducted by the Special Education junior students who performed a play from one of their classes. Students were acting each disability in a scene that caught everyone’s sight and heart. This performance is a replication of Introduction to the Special Education course under the supervision of Ms. Dalia Hamada where students played the characteristics of each disability
“Education is a very important facet of our society, as it directly impacts the development of the individual and our human resources. With human capital as the single most important asset of our country, Saudi Arabia, we must ensure that our education is going in the right direction, and maximizes the development of our human resources. Education is the first port of call in the development of an individual and it is the right for each and every child, including children with disabilities,” said Dr. Nadia Taibah, Chair of the special education program.
It is essential to promote awareness towards disabilities which will increase public acceptance and make it easier for disabled individuals to feel part of the community. Special Education professionals and students have always worked hard in trying to improve the quality of life for disabled children/individuals. “Special Education is a unique discipline and only those who are truly unique can do what special education students do” said Dr. Areej Al Asseri , Provost at Dar Al-Hekma University
Therefore, Dar Al-Hekma University celebrated International Exceptional Children’s Day to spread the knowledge and awareness about learning disabilities to insure equal opportunities are provided to all students.