U.S. Embassy Jakarta Supports Indonesia’s Special Needs Students

(Photo: State Dept / U.S. Embassy Jakarta)

JAKARTA – U.S. Embassy Jakarta, through the Regional English Language Office (RELO), welcomed Professor Dean Cloward from Brigham Young University Idaho, an expert in special needs education, on his two-week travel to learn about inclusive education in Indonesia from December 10-20. During the visit, Professor Cloward shared his perspective in Jakarta, Medan, Aceh, and Surabaya based on his thirty years of experience teaching special needs teachers in the U.S.

“The United States Government is committed to promoting the inclusion and the rights of people with disabilities, including the disability-inclusive development efforts in Indonesia. It is important that all individuals with disabilities can benefit from inclusive education in a supportive environment with proper resources,” said Ruth Goode, the Director of the Regional English Language Office. Goode added, “Professor Cloward has an extensive background in teaching special needs teachers in the U.S. This time, he is bringing his expertise to encourage fellow Indonesian teachers to do their jobs and handle the challenges in their field.”

On December 10, Professor Cloward traveled to Indonesia from his home in Idaho to learn about inclusive education in Indonesia.  Dr. Cloward’s visit started with two days in Jakarta, where he visited SBLN 11, a special needs school, and SMPN 15, an inclusive school, where he observed classes, and met with teachers and parents who talked about the challenges for special needs students and teachers.

In Jakarta, Dr. Cloward also met with Aswin Wihdiyanto, Acting Director of the Directorate of Community and Special Education at the Ministry of National Education, with the Working Group of Islamic Inclusive Education, Directorate of Islamic Education, Ministry of Religious Affairs, led by Bapak Dr Rohmat Mulyana, and with Dr Putra Asga Elevri, Director of Secondary Teachers and Special Education Teachers at the Ministry of National Education, as well as with faculty at Universitas Negeri Jakarta’s Special Education Study program.

Dr. Cloward then traveled to Medan, Banda Aceh, and Surabaya where he continued to meet with special education teachers, government officials, special needs teachers, disability activists, and people with disabilities.  In each of these places, Dr. Cloward made presentations on inclusive education to students and teachers who teach in special needs or inclusive schools or are studying in preparation to do so.

On December 20, Dr. Cloward will give a live presentation at @America at the Pacific Place Mall: Advancing Inclusive Education in Indonesia: Collaborative Problem-solving, Inclusive Actors and Deliberate Practice.  The presentation will be from 1:30 – 3:00 pm and will be live-streamed.  Dr. Cloward will discuss what he has learned in Indonesia and will share insights based on the American experience of implementing inclusive education.

For further information about this presentation please see: https://www.atamerica.or.id/en/home

About Dr. Dean Cloward

Dr. Dean Cloward currently serves as a faculty member at Brigham Young University-Idaho, where he is an educator in the Elementary, Early, and Special Education Department. In this role, he specializes in teaching within the Early Childhood Special Education and K-12 Special Education programs, offering courses that cover topics such as assessment, exceptional children, law, and autism. His education includes a doctorate in School Psychology and Special Education, as well as a master’s degree in educational psychology, both at the University of Arizona. He earned undergraduate degrees in Economics and Psychology at Brigham Young University.

Dr. Cloward has actively participated in numerous state and national committees as chair and member, including several standards review committees, chairing the Consortium for the Preparation of Early Childhood Professionals, AGS/Pearson National Advisory Panel, and the Early Learning Guidelines Committee. He has testified before the Idaho House and Senate Education Committees on multiple occasions, advocating for inclusive education and the education of preschool-age children.

Dean’s passion lies in teaching and aiding others in comprehending the world of young children. In addition to his work in the United States, he has taught internationally, notably at Jiangsu University in China within graduate and medical schools in 2016, and Shanghai Normal University in 2019 and 2020. His love for people and adventure has taken him around the globe, where he has visited and/or resided in various countries, including China, Korea, Germany, Austria, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Israel, Czechoslovakia, Mexico, and England.

Dean spent 8 1/2 years in the military, serving in both the Army and Navy. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant (officer, O4) during his military service.  He has visited 48 of the 50 states and lived in Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Virginia, Rhode Island, Kentucky, and Missouri.

About the English Language Specialist Program

The English Language Specialist program is an exchange program for senior experts in the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.  In collaboration with Ministries, universities, or other institutions, Specialists provide an American perspective on Indonesian education, at the same time as learning about Indonesia.  Projects often include teacher training, curriculum development, or support for professional communication skills for groups such as disaster management professionals, journalists, bureaucrats, cybersecurity professionals and more.  Specialist projects vary in length from two weeks to three months and may be in-country or virtual.

About the Regional English Language Office

The U.S. Mission to Indonesia’s Regional English Language Office (RELO) supports the effective teaching and learning of English in Indonesia and Timor Leste, while enhancing mutual understanding between the United States and these nations.  RELO Jakarta collaborates with Indonesian and Timor Leste government ministries and agencies, teacher’s associations, and universities in supporting teacher education, teacher training, and teacher professional development, as well as curriculum and language teaching materials development, and other English language teaching projects.  RELO Jakarta is committed to supporting effective pre- and in-service training opportunities for English language teachers throughout the region.