Friday, April 11, 2014

"Much to Our Bewilderment"

Hello all, hope everyone is well.  This week was kind of a wash work-wise since we are on vacation from school, my car battery died at the Nakumatt, it's been raining Genesis-style for six days now, and my birthday fell right in the middle of it all.  To the left and the right of starting Year #39 of Life were the first two seasons of Girls on HBO (watched through 2x, truth be told), the yearly Crest Whitestripping of my teeth, and a massive spring cleaning at Villa Favorita (my mom's name for my Moshi "estate").  None of that qualifies as Toa Nafasi-related, but it is what it is....

Anyhoo, my offering for today is this bit from the Tanzania Daily News on inclusive education in the country.  I must admit, it's not hugely informative (and contains the clause which I found amusing enough to be the title of this post), but at least disability is still making headlines in the TZ papers.

Holla back next Friday from beautiful Istanbul where I will visit with two of my favorite people in the whole world, both of them teachers from the United States, both teaching English as a Second Language abroad.  Some very interesting stuff to come!!


Tanzania has to promote an inclusive education system through which variously disabled students can excel as it has been their dream for so long.
Tanzania League of the Blind (TLB) Vice-Chairman, Mr. Robert Bundala, said recently that the system must recognize and respond to the diverse needs of students, accommodating different styles and rates of learning so as to ensure quality to all through appropriate curricula, organizational arrangements, teaching strategies, resource use, and partnerships with local communities.
Mr. Bundala said that if that is done, then the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training can pride itself on successfully implementing the Big Results Now (BRN) strategy.  He said that facilities for disabled students should be made available right from nursery school all the way to the university level.

The Persons with Disabilities Act of 2010 stipulates that all people have an equal right to education and/or training in an inclusive setting.  It further states that a child with a disability may attend an ordinary public or private school except where a need for special communication is required and that in these ordinary schools, they shall be provided with appropriate disability-related support services or other necessary learning services from a qualified teacher or a teacher assigned for that purpose.
As compared to that doctrine, Mr. Bundala said that the country falls far short and that children with disabilities suffer a lot in pursuing their education dreams.  He challenged the Ministry to take up its responsibilities and see if, given the services promised them, the disabled students do not turn out to be as good as or even better than those without disabilities.
He said that the accomplishment of these duties will highly reduce discrimination against disabled in Tanzanian society.  "Inclusive education helps to bring awareness and reduce discrimination; enhance communication, cooperation, and creativity; increase capacity building; and improve support and care.  But, we still have a big problem as society continues to discriminate and we implore the government to execute the law so that we get our fair share."
The TLB Chairman in Hai District, Mr. Abraham Marima, said he cannot comprehend why the policy should cause such a predicament since the law was enacted in 2010; it is very clear and could help many immensely.  "Tanzania ratified a United Nations Agreement on the right to quality education for the disabled, the law to that end was enacted in 2010, but much to our bewilderment, up to now there is no implementation of the same."

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