DZT calls for disability inclusion in Education Amendment Bill

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By Alois Vinga

DEAF Zimbabwe Trust (DZT) executive director, Barbara Nyangari has implored government and other stakeholders to make sure that the ongoing Education Amendment Bill gets adequate input to necessitate the crafting of a law which is sensitive to the needs of disabled learners.

Speaking to Thursday, Nyangari said the impending legal piece must provide a sound basis for the expedition of the education syllabus for the disabled.

“Zimbabwe has developed a Sign language syllabus from Early Childhood Development to Grade three and this is yet to be implemented thus prejudicing learners who are deaf.

“In addition, there is need to develop the sign language syllabus for Grade Four to Ordinary level. There are deaf learners in the schools prejudiced because of the lack of sign language syllabus,” she said.

Nyangari also requested key stakeholders to make sure that the inclusive education policy is completed in order to create school environments that meet the needs of children with disabilities and ultimately improve the learning outcomes of learners with disabilities adding that inclusive education requires attitudinal and environmental barriers to learning are addressed.

Disability Rights Lawyer, Abraham Mateta raised concerns with some specific phrasings in the bill which he said if unattended to, room for the neglecting of people with disability may be created.

“When the Education Bill is talking about issues concerning the disabled, there is mention that our needs will be met only when the budget is permitting and such phrasing indicates that all the inequalities we are experiencing may not be addressed because room for excuse has already been created,” he said.

Mateta urged responsible authorities to also make sure that learners with disability are given room to give their input in the Education Bill and underscored that the clauses which talk the mother’s language need clarity.

Also speaking at the occasion, Reverend Taylor Nyanhete said that it is time government made sure there was the right infrastructure to cater for learners with disability in schools.

“A lot of investments have been made in training teachers in Special Education but the obtaining challenge is that the country does not have adequate infrastructure to cater for the needs of the disabled.

“The bulk of available schools are not constructed in such a way that the disabled learners will assisted and at the same time the special schools are very few and expensive,” he said.