A woman wearing a large colourful head wrap standing in a doorway.
A woman wearing a large colourful head wrap standing in a doorway.

Photo © Sightsavers/Nicolas Réméné

Assitan

'All children are equal before the law. No child must be excluded'

Assitan works for Mali’s Ministry of Education as an evaluator and trainer.

At the Ministry of Education level, I am evaluator and trainer. I assess the learning of the children. I am in charge of the evaluation of the primary level 1, which means the first cycle of primary learning in Mali. I am also a trainer for the assessments.

All activities around children’s learning must be evaluated. The evaluation has a very important place in their learning, even at a national scale. We must have a national evaluation to understand, to see the reality, and to know the level of skills of the teachers. This is what the evaluation of the children’s learning can tell us at a national scale.

We are partners of the Inclusive Educational Project. And on top of that, we’ve worked a lot with Sightsavers. There is a tool (the EGRA or early grade reading assessment system) that we use to evaluate. The tool had excluded children with disabilities, especially blind children and children with visual impairments. Sightsavers has worked a lot on this with the collaboration of the Ministry of Education…we have been able to [translate the EGRA tool into braille]. The [same] tool used to evaluate the children who do not have disabilities… is used to assess the children with disabilities, especially the blind children. We [can] even evaluate the visually impaired children with this tool and that is fantastic.

When the EGRA tool was brought, in its braille version, to the Ministry of National Education, the Secretary General of the National Education Ministry was present. He was [amazed]. We just want to thank Sightsavers because it’s thanks to [the project] that children with disabilities, especially the blind ones, are integrated into the system.

The most important thing for me is the fact that all children are equal now, in Mali. As an evaluator, I am thrilled. I am thrilled. The tool that allows me to evaluate the children’s writing and reading, this same tool allows me to evaluate a blind child. This is very important. It allows me to evaluate a visually impaired child too. So the children are all at the same level. As teacher, I am thrilled about that.

The children and the teachers are starting to understand, as well as the parents, that we can’t exclude a child with disabilities. All children are equal before the law. So these children must learn like any other. No child must be excluded.

From 2017-2020, Sightsavers' inclusive education project in Mali was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development.

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