Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Elusively Inclusive

Hi all, and sorry for the late post this week.  Work has kept me running apace and I haven't had an extra moment to whip up a frothy blog entry.  All in due time....

Until then, check out the article below from The Tanzania Daily News that ran a couple weeks ago regarding the all-but-forgotten National Strategy on Inclusive Education....only time will tell if this initiative really comes to pass someday, but it looks like a pilot project is actually in the works!


The government is planning to introduce a policy whereby all teachers' colleges will enhance special education training, with the aim of eventually implementing the inclusive education strategy.

Addressing residents in Kibaha, the Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Mr. Philipo Mulugo, said the move is aimed at increasing school enrollment of disabled students.

He was speaking during the launch of the Modeling Inclusive Education (MIE) project to be carried out in the three districts of Kibaha, Mkuranga and Kisarawe on the coast.

The five-year project will be handled jointly by the Tanzanian government and the NGO, Action on Disability and Development International (ADD).  Mr. Mulugo urged local government leaders and education officials to conduct frequent censuses to get accurate numbers of disabled children in every household so that no one misses out on the education opportunity.

It's widely acknowledged that only 3-5% of disabled children in Tanzania go to school - a fact that had already resulted in the National Strategy in Inclusive Education, which was initiated in 2009.

According to a study which was conducted by Mr. Cosmas Mnyanyi, a consultant from the Open University of Tanzania (OUT), the few who have made it into school face a wide range of challenges including a lack of supportive devices such as Braille machines, hearing aids, and ramps and access points for wheelchairs.

"There are very few teachers who have an understanding of disability issues, a shortage of data on types of disability, a scarcity of workshops where crafts and trades can be taught, as well as issues facing all schoolchildren such as a shortage of books and classroom space," said Mr. Mnyanyi.

ADD International is one of the organizations that commissioned the report and its country director, Mr. Sixbert Mzee, said the findings form the first step in this five-year plan to increase greater access to schools and improve educational performance and achievements amongst disabled students.

"As a result of this report, the realities of being a child with a disability are there for all of us to see.  Together with other campaigners and supporters we have to ensure that we work even harder to bring down barriers first in the coastal region and then across Tanzania," he said.

ADD International Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Tim Wainwright, said the program focuses on transforming the existing Tanzanian education system to provide disabled children with friendly and educative environment.

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