DISABILITY IS NOT INABILITY
Like all children, children with disabilities have ambitions and dreams for their futures
Agenda 2030 places gender equality and inclusive and equitable quality education at the heart of its concerns. It addresses violence against girls and boys as a cross-cutting concern, and includes concrete commitments under a number of Goals and Targets. In particular, under Goal 4, on inclusive and equitable quality education, the Agenda highlights the importance of knowledge and skills on human rights and the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, the provision of child, disability and gender sensitive education facilities and safe, nonviolent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all (target 4.a).
Promoting inclusive education
Inclusive education means that all students attend and are welcomed by their neighborhood schools in age-appropriate, regular classes and are supported to learn, contribute and participate in all aspects of the life of the school, Is about how we develop and design our schools, classrooms, programs and activities so that all students learn and participate together.
Inclusive education is about ensuring access to quality education for all students by effectively meeting their diverse needs in a way that is responsive, accepting, respectful and supportive. Students participate in the education program in a common learning environment with support to diminish and remove barriers and obstacles that may lead to exclusion.
Inclusive education is carried out in a common learning environment; that is, an educational setting where students from different backgrounds and with different abilities learn together in an inclusive environment. Common learning environments are used for the majority of the students’ regular instruction hours and may include classrooms, libraries, gym, performance theatres, music rooms, cafeterias, playgrounds and the local community. A common learning environment is not a place where students with intellectual disabilities or other special needs learn in isolation from their peers.
Effective common learning environments:
- Enable each student to fully participate in the learning environment that is designed for all students and is shared with peers in the chosen educational setting;
- Provide a positive climate, promote a sense of belonging and ensure student progress toward appropriate personal, social, emotional and academic goals;
- Are responsive to individual learning needs by providing sufficient levels of support and applying student-centred teaching practices and principles.
- Common learning environment: an inclusive environment where instruction is designed to be delivered to students of mixed ability and with their peer group in the community school, while being responsive to their individual needs as a learner, and used for the majority of the students’ regular instruction
An estimated 93 million children worldwide live with disabilities. Like all children, children with disabilities have ambitions and dreams for their futures. Like all children, they need quality education to develop their skills and realize their full potential. Nearly 50 per cent of children with disabilities are not in school, compared to only 13 per cent of their peers without disabilities. Robbed of their right to learn, children with disabilities are often denied the chance to take part in their communities, the workforce and the decisions that most affect them. (UNICEF)
Children with disabilities are 10 times less likely to attend school than those without. Even if they attend school, they are more likely to drop out early while the level of schooling they receive Children with disabilities are 10 times less likely to attend school than those without. Even if they attend school, they are more likely to drop out early while the level of schooling they receive is frequently below that of their peers. Children with disabilities are often unable to go to school because of unsuitable school buildings. In addition, there is a limited understanding within their communities and among teachers about their learning needs, which is often fuelled by prejudices around disability (Plan International)
In 2010, Tanzania issued the Persons with Disabilities Act which guarantees the right to education and training services to children with disabilities. Today, disabled children still encounter barriers to attending primary school, and even fewer attend secondary school. Enrollment rates for disabled children dropped from 5,495 students to 5,328 students in 2013. Out of the 3,601 public secondary schools in Tanzania, only 75 schools accommodate children that require special needs education. Most of the students with disabilities do not have access to assistive devices like a wheelchair, cane or hearing aid. In other cases, few teachers receive training to teach children with learning disabilities (ADD International)
In Tanzania and many parts of the world, children are excluded from education because of poverty, inequity, and discrimination, based on factors ranging from gender, disability, and ethnicity, to language, status, and lifestyle. To address these barriers, Maasai Girls Initiatives for Development – MGI4D works with the local government authorities, Community based Organizations, Churches, parents, local leaders, community action teams and ten cells house leaders to identify children with disabilities, raise awareness and sensitizing community on the meaning and importance of Inclusive Education and the rights of people with disabilities, renovating school facilities like pathways and toilets in order to enable students with disability have easy access to those facilities. We also promote inclusive microfinance schemes and income generating activities as well as sports and games for people with disability and we provide supportive gears like wheelchairs, and others