Dis­abled chil­dren lose out

CityPress - - News -

Par­ents of chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties pay ad­di­tional trans­port and board­ing costs if spe­cial schools are far from fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties Chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties in public schools re­ceive low-qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion in poor learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments When pupils with dis­abil­i­ties do com­plete school­ing and ob­tain a sec­ondary school cer­tifi­cate, they are forced to stay at home be­cause they lack ba­sic life skills It was left to NGOs to plug the gaps in de­liv­ery of public ser­vices for dis­abled chil­dren Hu­man Rights Watch has pro­duced a 94-page re­port on the ed­u­ca­tion bar­ri­ers faced by chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties.

Ti­tled Com­plicit in Ex­clu­sion: South Africa’s Fail­ure to Guar­an­tee an In­clu­sive Ed­u­ca­tion for Chil­dren with Dis­abil­i­ties, it found chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties were not ad­e­quately catered for in public schools.

The rights group con­ducted its re­search in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber last year in Gaut­eng, KwaZulu-Natal, Lim­popo, North­ern Cape and the Western Cape.

It said prov­inces were se­lected to doc­u­ment dis­par­i­ties in ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion for pupils with dis­abil­i­ties in re­mote or ru­ral prov­inces, com­pared with those with greater re­sources and pro­vi­sion of ser­vices for those with dis­abil­i­ties.

The ev­i­dence in the re­port was based on in­ter­views with 70 par­ents on the ex­pe­ri­ences of 55 chil­dren and 15 young adults with dis­abil­i­ties.

It fo­cused on a num­ber of dis­abil­i­ties, which in­cluded phys­i­cal, sen­sory (blind, low vi­sion, deaf, or hard of hear­ing) and in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­i­ties – such as cere­bral palsy and Down’s syn­drome, autism spec­trum dis­or­der and foetal al­co­hol syn­drome.

PHOTO: WIREIMAGE

ED­U­CA­TION FOR A NA­TION

Malala Yousafzai

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