The Paro College of Education (PCE), Royal University of Bhutan has always been in the forefront providing programmes and trainings in primary teacher education enhancing the quality of education in Bhutan. PCE aspires to provide programmes and trainings that are current, innovative, and embrace international best practices. With recent developments in addressing inclusion for children with SEN and disabilities in Bhutanese schools, the absence of trained teachers and teacher assistants posed challenges in meeting the needs of children with SEN and disabilities. However, with the recent introduction of first ever Master of Education in Inclusive Education programme, schools in Bhutan that support inclusive and special education will be provided with much awaited trained special educators who will provide professional support to children with SEN and disabilities and their families.
The need for trained Teachers Assistant to support the needs of children with SEN and disabilities alongside special educators have been much emphasized worldwide. Similarly, Bhutan’s Standard for SEN (MoE, 2017), National Policy for Persons with Disabilities 2019 (GNHC, 2019) and other government documents alike emphasize the need of trained Teacher Assistants in schools that support inclusive and special education in Bhutan. Therefore, this ATTAIN Project is timely which aims in designing a new curriculum for Special Education Teachers Assistant Diploma programme to be offered as a regular course in PCE, Royal University of Bhutan. This programme will be the first of its kind in Bhutanese context and will prepare Teachers Assistant for schools that support inclusive and special educational needs (SEN) programmes. This project will also significantly support the needs of children with SEN and disabilities and their families across Bhutan. Similarly, the overburdened SEN teachers in schools will be relieved by working alongside in supporting the children with SEN and disabilities. Finally, launching this diploma programme will provide job opportunities for youths of Bhutan in nation building and thus achieving aspirations as laid in development philosophy of GNH.