Minister of Education, Science and Technology Agnes NyaLonje has asked education stakeholders to provide more support to Malawi’s quest to achieve meaningful inclusion education.
Speaking on Wednesday when she opened a two-day 2022 National Inclusive Education Conference in Lilongwe, NyaLonje said her ministry is engaging relevant stakeholders to assist in allocating adequate resources towards early identification of special needs students.
She said countries have committed to ensuring inclusive and equitable lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030; hence, her ministry is now seeking to reach and support the hard-to-reach areas in order to improve delivery for all children across the country.
“Children with special education needs are particularly at risk of exclusion from education and it has noted that in low and lower middle income countries 40 percent of children with special education needs are out of school at primary level and 55 percent at lower secondary level.
“Proportion of special needs education learners in our schools is around 3 percent standing at 164, 130 in 2022. However, access for special students remains particularly low in the universities with only 120 special needs students recorded,” she said.
NyaLonje said this is a clear sign that more needs to be done to help learners with special needs students.
Save the Children International Country Director Ashebir Debebe stated that as one of the stakeholders, his organization will maintain its commitment to working with the government and other stakeholders in supporting special needs students in Malawi.
Debebe said Save the Children is already supporting the Ministry of Education to develop a national inclusive education strategy as well as tools and coordination guidelines for implementation saying they work on improving disabled children’s social and emotional learning, using healing and education through Art and psychological first aid in community child centers and primary schools.
“In early childhood education we are supporting the Department of Child Affairs to working with Community Based Childcare Centers (CBCC) to improve the quality of inclusive early Childhood development services across Malawi by strengthening management and governance capacity of CBBC by community themselves,” he said.
He added, “We are creating opportunities for children with disabilities to participate in inclusive early Childhood programs and also supporting school management, preparedness for education in emergencies, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation for children with disabilities.”