The Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) and Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi (FEDOMA) join other countries world over in commemorating and campaigning for the right to quality basic education for all by undertaking Global Campaign for Education (GCE) Action Week (GAW).
The GCE Action Week was commemorated on 4th to 10th May but in Malawi it was shifted to 20th to 26th July due to the recent Tripartite Elections. The Action is being commemorated under the theme ‘Equal Right, Equal Opportunity: Education and Disability’.
Fedoma Executive Director, Action Amos said the GCE Action Week has created a platform for institutions to intensify education for all campaigns by raising critical issues affecting access, equity, quality and relevance, and governance and management of education and subsequently calling for tangible action.
Amos, however, bemoaned the lack of adequate number of trained teachers in Special Needs Education (SNE) as well as absence of an SNE policy and the vast data holes in education and disability which leaves the educational needs of learners with disabilities invisible to policy makers.
“Lack of access to SNE services and support, non-accessibility of schools as well as negative socio-cultural attitudes and perceptions of disability and education, often lead to low enrolment rates of children with disabilities in schools. Unless these challenges are addressed, the standards of inclusive education in Malawi will continue to dwindle to the disadvantage of children with disabilities,” explained Amos.
Amos said passing of the Disability Bill by the National Assembly in 2012 is one of the Malawi successes noted at international level both in its inclusive education sector and beyond.
“The Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) and Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi (FEDOMA) recognize that all children, including those with disabilities, have the right to education. This is noted through the signing of international treaties and declarations and efforts to establish an inclusive education system.
“However, years after its establishment, the inclusive education system still faces a myriad of challenges. To this extent therefore, inclusive education in Malawi has been relegated for failure as government, communities and other stakeholders have not made the effort to uphold their commitments and obligations towards learners with disabilities.”
GCE Action Week provides a platform to mobilize all stakeholders to call for action to ensure every child has the support they need to realize their right to education.
Meanwhile, CSEC has drafted a number of demands that policy makers and communities must commit to address to ensure that measurable success is achieved during the campaign.
Some of the demands include completion and passing of the SNE policy, increased financing for SNE, provision of accessible classrooms and learning materials for learners with disabilities as well as continuous training for existing teachers in SNE and emphasis on training new teachers in SNE.
Globally an estimated 93 million children live with a moderate or severe disability. They face a multitude of barriers to participate equally in society, and one of the major barriers is the denial of their right to education.
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