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Call for disabled learners policy

 

Pascalinah Kabi

THE Lesotho National Federation of Organisations of the Disabled (LNFOD) has urged government to speed up the development of the inclusive education policy and allocate a sufficient budget for its effective implementation.

The federation said it was important for the state to create an enabling environment to operationalise the policy which would guide all stakeholders to ensure Lesotho’s general education system was inclusive of learners with disabilities.

“LNFOD acknowledges the intention of the Ministry of Education to develop and adopt the inclusive education policy to create an enabling environment for all learners with disabilities from the pre-primary education, primary, secondary, high and higher education,” LNFOD executive director, Sefuthi Nkhasi said in a statement.

“Learners with disabilities experience serious inequalities in terms of access to quality, inclusive education due to limited funding for the implementation of inclusive education strategies, lack of accessible infrastructure in terms of physical environment and inaccessible toilets which lead to the drop out of learners with disabilities at schools. 

“Learners with disabilities report that they go through an inaccessible curriculum and assessment from time to time due to lack of disability sensitive planning taking place in all departments of the Ministry of Education.”

For instance, he said the school supply unit does not supply schools with accessible textbooks and teachers need to be capacitated on how to include children with disabilities in the classroom situation.

He said some parents of children with disabilities were not aware of the rights of their children with disabilities to education.

Mr Nkhasi said it was against this background that LNFOD and its affiliates were holding a series of meetings with parents at disability focal points in various community councils.

Such meetings were held in Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng and Mohale’s Hoek with the aim of educating the parents about the right to education for children with disabilities and ways of exercising such rights.

“After this, public gatherings on inclusive education will be conducted in the local communities to sensitise community leaders about the right to education for children with disabilities,” Mr Nkhasi said.

He said the adoption of the inclusive education policy would enable the country to practice inclusive education as per article 24 of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and reduce inequalities faced by learners with disabilities in the current education system at all levels.

 

 

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