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Education for all

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Education for all

 

Education is one of the most effective ways to break the cycle of discrimination and poverty that children with disabilities and their families often face. According to the World Report on Disability approximately one billion people in the world are living with a disability, with at least 1 in 10 being children and 80% living in developing countries. For children with disabilities, education is vital in itself but also instrumental for participating in employment and other areas of social activity. In some cultures, attending school is part of becoming a complete person. Children with disabilities are often unfortunately marginalized from society and remain invisible to the mainstream population and education officials. In most developing countries there is little relevant data to identify the number of disabled children. There are also no effective policies to address their needs and provide them access to a quality education. However some countries stand out of the crowd for their continuous efforts to bring education to children with disabilities. How can we claim to be living in a modern era when our children are unable to go to school even with the technology that we claim to master? Whats the real purpose of this technology if it can’t make life easier for the disabled? One in three of the children around the world who do not have access to primary education have a disability, says a report from the charity Sightsavers.

 

Sightsavers that works to ease the life of children with blindness, cites figures from Unesco which would suggest that about 23 million disabled children are missing out on education. Such lack of access represents a huge barrier to achieve the Millennium Goal of primary education for all children by 2015. In some developing countries, the proportion of disabled children receiving an education can be as low as 1-3%.

 

There are different approaches around the world to provide education for people with disabilities. The models adopted include special schools and institutions, integrated schools, and inclusive schools. For instance, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act was enacted by the United States Congress in 1975. This act required all public schools accepting federal funds to provide equal access to education and one free meal a day for children with physical and mental disabilities. Public schools were required to evaluate handicapped children and create an educational plan with parent input that would emulate as closely as possible the educational experience of non-disabled students.

                                                                                     Education for all

 

A survey of data from nine developing countries shows a pattern of disabled children being more likely to miss out on education - with this increased likelihood of exclusion ranging from 15% in Mozambique to 59% in Indonesia. In Zambia, 15 schools are taking part in an inclusive education initiative, where teachers are being trained by four special needs co-ordinators. The Zambian government, having seen positive results, is now putting money into inclusion. And worries about disabled children slowing everyone else down have been scotched. Ensuring that children with disabilities receive good quality education in an inclusive environment should be a priority of all countries. The United recognizes the right of all children with disabilities both to be included in the  general education systems and to receive the individual support they require.

 

Children with disabilities are less likely than children without disabilities to start school and have lower rates of staying and being promoted in school. Children with disabilities should have equal access to quality education, because this is key to human capital formation and their participation in social and economic life. Disabled people’s organizations also have a role in promoting the education of disabled children – for example, working with young disabled people, providing role models, encouraging parents to send their children to school and become involved in their children’s education, and campaigning for inclusive education.

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Arshad Dewkunkhan is Editor at Mauritius Yellow Pages, aged 25, resident of Rose - Hill. Former student of the St Joseph college with a formal education at College and University in Business Side.   Arshad is an avide reader, manages several Social Media pages, a football fanatic and loves spending time by nature.  

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