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
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,"
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.