Stakeholders call for inclusive education for people with disabilities
Experts called on the government to promote inclusive education in the education sector.
Dr Patrick Ojok, senior lecturer and disability inclusion consultant at Makerere University, noted that the government should abandon the 18th century mindset of not considering rights holders people with disabilities and to work towards inclusive education.
“We need to move on from when inclusive education was a missionary and individual affair and ensure that it spreads to all levels and we need to ask ourselves if this is the one we have now including the teacher training, support staff, inclusive accommodation, among others,” he said.
Peace Sserunkuma, a KCCA Disability Advisor, said inclusive education is everyone’s endeavor which should start at the family level.
“I hope all stakeholders can push for a life where all disabled people can go to school and learn with other students despite existing challenges,” she said.
The call was made during a stakeholder engagement meeting organized by the Chevening Alumni Association of Uganda (CAAU) which brings together Ugandan students who have studied in the UK under the Chevening Scholarship Scheme.
This was organized under the theme; Inclusive Education for Persons with Disabilities in Uganda: Policies, Practices and Opportunities.
Speaking at the event, H.E. Kate Airey, British High Commissioner to Uganda, who also serves as Patron of Chevening Alumni, said her government is committed to continuing to support education development inclusive by emphasizing girls’ education and supporting all other vulnerable groups.
“Issues related to equality, diversity and inclusion are extremely important to us and I am pleased that after today’s conference we intend to come away with practical actions to support inclusive education in Uganda,” she said.
Adding: “As you may be aware, inclusive education remains a key priority for the UK Government despite the COVID-19 pandemic which has had a negative effect on children’s learning across the country with one of the longest lockdowns in the world”.
Ketty Lamaro, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education (PS), assured participants that the government is committed to promoting inclusive education as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and to promote lifelong learning.
Lamaro noted that as a ministry, they have instituted a comprehensive department which she says is dedicated to coordinating and supporting the provision of services to learners with special needs as well as promoting education. inclusive.
Adding: “We are committed to ensuring that learners with special needs have equitable access to quality educational services. To ensure this, Uganda is a signatory to international commitments that provide for learners with special needs.
Lamaro thanked the British government for the support it has given to the education sector in Uganda.
“I am aware that inclusive education is at the heart of the UK government because through its Connecting Classrooms program 3,776 teachers and 1,927 school leaders have been trained to integrate 21st century basic skills into teaching “, she said.
Participants also signed and committed to 10 key action points that will see the promotion and achievement of inclusive education in Uganda.
Around 2.5 million children in Uganda live with some form of disability, which prevents them from accessing education, health, employment and reaching their full potential.
A census report from (UBOS 2016) indicates that 12.4% of the Ugandan population aged two and above live with some form of disability. This implies that about 4.5 million Ugandans are disabled, hence a development problem.
The disability prevalence rate is higher at 14% for Ugandans aged five and above.
Speaking at the event, Hellen Nakawesa, a Chevening alumnus, said the above statistics are part of the reason for the conference to see how inclusive education for Ugandan youth can be promoted.