Ad­vo­cates demand in­clu­sive ed­u­ca­tion for dis­abled stu­dents

The Myanmar Times - - News - EI SHWE PHYU sithul­win@mm­times.com

A CON­SOR­TIUM of or­gan­i­sa­tions ad­vo­cat­ing for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties has urged the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion to form an In­clu­sive Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment.

“We ask to have an In­clu­sive Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment be­cause if there is not a spe­cific depart­ment re­spon­si­ble for help­ing dis­abled peo­ple, then any plans won’t be pri­ori­tised,” said U Tha Uke, sec­re­tary of the Ac­tion Com­mit­tee for Chil­dren with Dis­abil­i­ties to Ac­cess Main­stream Ed­u­ca­tion.

The com­mitte is com­prised of 15 rep­re­sen­ta­tives from dif­fer­ent dis­abil­i­ties ad­vo­cacy groups.

On July 6 at the Al­ter­na­tive Ed­u­ca­tion Fo­rum in Nay Pyi Taw, Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion U Myo Thein Gyi de­clared that mat­ters re­lated to en­sur­ing in­clu­sive ed­u­ca­tion will fall un­der the Depart­ment of Al­ter­na­tive Ed­u­ca­tion.

“That would be the opposite of what we are try­ing to achieve,” U Tha Uke said at a press con­fer­ence on July 28.

The con­sor­tium of ad­vo­cates, which was formed on June 25, is cur­rently tak­ing a sur­vey of chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties, ask­ing them what dif­fi­cul­ties they face in schools. They re­ported, in a meet­ing with the min­is­ter for ed­u­ca­tion, that there were 30 cases of stu­dents with dis­abil­i­ties claim­ing they had been re­jected from en­rol­ment at schools across the coun­try. So far, the com­mit­tee has con­firmed 10 of those cases.

“The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion should have a pol­icy to ad­dress stu­dent ac­cep­tance,” said Daw Yu Ya Thu, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the com­mit­tee who spe­cialises in as­sist­ing phys­i­cally dis­abled stu­dents. “If chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties ap­ply for school en­rol­ment, most teach­ers ne­glect them be­cause there is no def­i­nite pol­icy re­quir­ing the schools to ac­cept chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties.”

The UN Con­ven­tion on the Rights of Peo­ple with Dis­abil­i­ties cul­mi­nated in a signed agree­ment in De­cem­ber 2011. The Pyi­daungsu Hlut­taw adopted the Dis­abil­ity Rights Law on June 5, 2015. But lo­cal im­ple­men­tion of the Dis­abil­ity Rights Law has not yet taken place.

Ac­cord­ing to a 2010 na­tion­wide re­port from the Min­istry of So­cial Wel­fare, Re­lief and Re­set­tle­ment, 53 per­cent of peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties do not have ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion and only 2pc hold bach­e­lor’s de­grees.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2014 cen­sus data, 2.3 mil­lion peo­ple na­tion­wide have a dis­abil­ity, or 4.6pc of the pop­u­la­tion.

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