FUND INCLUSIVE EDUCATION, STATE URGED

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By ANNIE ZULU

GOVERNMENT should increase funding for inclusive education to ensure its effective implementation, Disability and Human Rights activist Thomas Mtonga has said.

Mr Mtonga said in pursing the Sustainable Development Goal 4, which seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all, there was the need to advocate the effective implementation of the policy to provide education for all children, including those with disabilities.

Inclusive education is an approach or a process which occurs when children with and without disabilities, and of diverse backgrounds and abilities, learn together in the same classroom, interact socially with each other within the regular school setting for the whole day.

Mr Mtonga said in an interview in terms of the implementation of the education policy, it was sad to note that very little was happening.

He said there was a need for duty bearers at national, provincial, district and school levels to comply fully with the Inclusive Education Policy, minimum standards and guidelines.

Mr Mtonga said working at changing attitudes and behaviours, which reinforced stigma towards vulnerable children, especially children with disabilities and strengthening the capacity of citizens to hold duty bearers accountable for the effective implementation of the Inclusive Education Policy were key factors.

“Among the challenges that children with disabilities face are inadequate infrastructure to conveniently accommodate all children, inaccessible school facilities, negative attitude of society towards children with special educational needs, including those with disabilities and funding,” he said.

If Zambia was able to implement the policy successfully, Zambia would be crowned the first country in the world to be a law-abiding because it did not trample on the rights of anybody.

He called for continuous sensitisation of stakeholders and communities on the need to change their attitudes towards issues of children with special educational needs as well review all instructional materials and assistive devices for teaching and implementation of inclusive education in schools to promote sustainability.

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