At least nine children with disabilities are failing to attend school in traditional authority (T/A) Chamba, Machinga because government cannot provide them with assistive devices.
The development has angered National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust and Malawi Union of the Blind (MUB) who has said government negligence on the matter is a violation of the children’s right to education.
Malawi Council for the Handicapped (Macoha) volunteer, Eunice Thosola, told a media clinic Nice Trust oganised recently that special needs education remains a mere dream in the area because government does not show keenness to address challenges that learners with disabilities are facing.
Thosola also noted that the majority of the public schools lack essential facilities to allow for the inclusion of learners with special needs.
She explained: “Of course, we’ve been appealing for assistance from government as well as well-wishers, but none has come to our rescue. We’re now beginning to question government’s commitment to enhance inclusive education because its actions contradict what it preaches.”
Nice national programme manager Grey Kalindekafe challenged that Malawi cannot achieve inclusive education unless authorities at the Capital Hill change their mind-set on children with disabilities.
Kalindekafe recommended that authorities must stop looking at children or persons with as “second-class citizens not entitled to total government care and support”.
MUB inclusive education coordinator Stuart Chauluka said it is unfortunate that Malawi is failing to integrate persons with disabilities in the education system in spite of impressive policies targeting special needs education.
Chauluka urged government to stop playing mere rhetoric on inclusive education and start delivering on promises and commitments it [has] made with local and international organisations on special needs education. n