Disabled children lose out
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.
EDUCATION FOR A NATION