Invitation to dance

By Ms Loh Kim Foong, Lecturer, Faculty of Education & Social Science

“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance” (Verna Myers). The word ‘inclusive’ is originated from Medieval Latin inclusivus and or Middle French inclusif. It means including all within its scope. UNICEF defines inclusive education as one where ALL children are in the same classroom regardless of their abilities, creeds, and beliefs to learn in one environment.

Working at Segi College, Sarawak provides a glimpse of what an inclusive education environment can be. Differences and unique qualities are celebrated in this college. For example, students of all abilities, different backgrounds, and different nationalities from different programmes of studies are interacting, engaging, and learning in my English Language classroom. It is an eye-opening, enriching experience to have a student who is also a mother amid a custody battle on one hand, and a young man who has Attention Deficit Disorder (AD) on the other; one from Khuzestan, another from Pakistan, another from a small village in the interiors of Sarawak; and a student who works as a model-actor and manage a talent agency! Imagine what everyone can get out of such an environment.

Segi Sarawak provides the same opportunity for all without judgement or prejudices.  A Literature student attends class according to her work schedule, so my session with her each week will depend on her and my work schedule.  Another full-time working student does most of his studies independently and schedules his consultation sessions with me accordingly which is usually at 8:30 pm. We make it work.

I would not lie and say that everything smells of roses and that providing an inclusive education is a piece of cake.  It is NOT but our College tries its best to cater to the differences and not ignore them, striving to make the impossible, possible. It does not matter if students have one SPM credit or 8A1s, they will be welcomed to our party to explore the courses and be invited to dance and be a member of the SEGian community.

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