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Life With Its Ups And Downs

1190 words - 5 pages

Children with disabilities arguably form the largest group of readily identifiable children who have been and continue to be persistently excluded from education. The World Bank estimates that of the 115 million children worldwide who are not in school, 30-40 per cent are children with disabilities. Evidence from 43 governments in the review of national progress in the implementation of the Agenda for Action for the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (1993-2002) indicated that less than 10 per cent of children and youth with disabilities had access to any form of education. This paper will aim at providing a guideline to the provision of education for children with disabilities in ...view middle of the document...

Discrimination in education needs to be understood within a broader context. Globally, children with disabilities are part of a population of 600 million people with disabilities. This is approximately 10 per cent of the World’s population, two thirds of whom live in the Asia-Pacific region. Discrimination against people with disabilities has been long-term and widespread with a number of significant effects. Persons with disabilities have been prevented from accessing rights that are freely available to other members of society in such areas as health, education, employment, community participation and other basic social and political rights. They have also been denied access to the disability-specific services that they need in areas such as early intervention and rehabilitation.
Failure to access these services, combined with prejudice and rejection, has resulted in economic and social exclusion for children and adults with disabilities and their families. This marginalization has meant that their needs have not been considered in the development of basic mainstream services such as education and health. Where services have been provided, it has usually been in the context of welfare or charity, often initiated by non-governmental organizations, with responsibility less likely to be taken by the government. Education has most commonly been provided in segregated special schools, to a minority of children in urban areas.

One thing one has to understand is that, the first international mandate on the right to education for all children was pronounced 60 years ago. Since that time the right to education has been repeatedly endorsed and expanded by the international community. Response by national governments has varied, but overall has moved in a direction towards fulfilling this right for the majority of children, but not for “all”. Interpretation of the word all has reflected the values and attitudes of the times. Only relatively recently has there been the beginnings of a shift towards including the right to education of children with disabilities within the commonly accepted understanding of the right to “Education for All”.

There are various strategies that need to be employed in order to integrate with disabilities. The reforms that will need to take place in the education system will affect all areas, starting with policy, legislation and the commitment of budgetary and other resources. Administrative procedures need to be effective from central to local school levels. The focus in the early stages must be on building support and creating positive attitudes, and preparing the school for the necessary changes.

Another focus must be on establishing methods of finding children who are out-of-school, and encouraging them to attend. One of the most important keys to success is the preparation of teachers so that they have the skills necessary to...

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