More work needed to en­sure peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties ac­cess ed­u­ca­tion: ad­vo­cates

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

GOVERN­MENT of­fi­cials have been in­vited to at­tend a fo­rum on prob­lems faced by dis­abled peo­ple in Myan­mar’s ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor. The fo­rum will be held in Nay Pyi Taw in Novem­ber and will be run by the Myan­mar Spe­cial Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion, an or­gan­i­sa­tion which trains spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers.

The prob­lems faced by peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties in Myan­mar are sig­nif­i­cant. Over 2.3 mil­lion peo­ple have some form of dis­abil­ity and, 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 while only 2pc hold bach­e­lor’s de­grees.

Though steps such as the adop­tion of the Dis­abil­ity Rights Law in June 2015 have been taken, dis­abil­ity ad­vo­cates in­sist that fur­ther ac­tion is needed. First on the list is the im­ple­men­ta­tion of by-laws for the Dis­abil­ity Rights Law in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor.

“With­out by-laws, it is dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment the main law as chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties have dif­fi­culty en­rolling in main­stream schools,” said L Zau Dim, sec­re­tary of the Myan­mar Spe­cial Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion. “One aim of the fo­rum will be to come up with by-laws to im­ple­ment the Dis­abil­ity Rights Law.”

Ac­cord­ing to U Ko Ko Oo, vice pres­i­dent of the Myan­mar Phys­i­cally Hand­i­capped As­so­ci­a­tion, the Min­istry of So­cial Wel­fare, Re­lief and Re­set­tle­ment has al­ready drafted the rel­e­vant teeth to the law, but he be­lieves more work is needed.

In­vi­ta­tions to the fo­rum will be sent to four min­istries in early Oc­to­ber. NGOs and CSOs that work with peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties will also be in­vited to at­tend. L Zau Dim said ad­vo­cates were hope­ful that the fo­rum would help to achieve change in the sec­tor. “We hope the lead­ers of the coun­try will at­tend this fo­rum to ad­vo­cate our cause,” he said.

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