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Sat 11 Oct 2008 04:00 AM

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$1.5 million to improve special needs education in Uzbekistan

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has announced a US$1.5 million grant to help improve education for special needs children throughout Uzbekistan.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has announced a US$1.5 million grant to help improve education for special needs children throughout Uzbekistan.

The grant, from ADB's Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, will pilot a project that uses integrated approaches to improve the learning, social confidence, and social integration skills of children with special needs.

Sri Wening Handayani, an ADB poverty reduction specialist, said the project "aims to demonstrate the benefits of inclusive educational approaches for children with special needs in basic schools. Inclusion is not only better educationally, emotionally, and psychologically for children with special needs, but it is also more cost-effective."

Special needs students are one of the most vulnerable groups in Uzbekistan, with many of them coming from poor families.

Most of these children are educated at home or at specialised boarding schools, often with poor buildings and facilities, obsolete learning materials, and limited interaction with other students and society.

The pilot will initially focus on six special needs and 12 general schools, and provide them with teacher training, ICT upgrades and improved accessibility.

These schools will work together to develop a model for social integration between children in all general and special schools in Uzbekistan. The two and half year project will cost more than $1.5 million to implement.

Similar pilots funded by ADB are also planned for Mongolia, Indonesia and Laos.

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