7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

A currency that can't be ignored!

FORMULA One racing legend and dyslexic Sir Jackie Stewart urged Bahrain to invest in inclusive education yesterday.

He said Bahrain's educational reforms must provide for those with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, which affects about 10 per cent of the world's population.

"I plead that a strong movement in special education comes to Bahrain. This is a currency you can't afford to ignore," said Sir Jackie, who is President of Dyslexia Scotland.

He said if people with learning disabilities were not educated correctly it would affect the development of any country.

"If people are not educated they can't be well trained and can't get jobs and will be unemployed and this will be a burden on the economy and they may go into crime because it pays more than unemployment," he said.

"You have a unique opportunity in Bahrain and the region. For at least the next 20 years this region will be the most wealthiest and powerful.

"So you must invest in your future and that's education."

Sir Jackie made the call during his keynote speech presented at the opening of the conference.

The motorcar racing great battled with dyslexia through school but remained undiagnosed until the age of 41 when he was faced with the learning difficulties of his own sons.

As president of Dyslexia Scotland he has been promoting early intervention for children with learning difficulties.

Sir Jackie has also been working with Scottish parliament to make sure every training college in Scotland gives trainee teachers the information and tools they need to support inclusive education.

He invited Bahrain to align with those working on inclusive education in Scotland.

"If a learning disability can be diagnosed early, much can be done. If not they will be identified as being stupid," said Sir Jackie.

"I left school at 15 with no education at all. I thought I was stupid, dumb and thick and I had a huge inferiority complex."

Parents also need to be given support and taught how they can help their children learn.

"There needs to be a fuller understanding with the whole family and this can be done in school after hour programmes," he said.

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that affects a person's ability to process information. It is mainly associated with difficulties in reading, writing and spelling.

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