21 September 2017

Zimbabwe: Govt to Empower Disabled Children

Government is crafting a policy to increase education facilities for people living with disabilities for them to sit for national examinations. A Curriculum and Technical Services Unit official Mr Edward Mandeya said the ministry was making progress in helping all disabled students to sit for examinations.

He was speaking during a workshop held in Harare on Tuesday.

"All disabled students are expected to write national examinations for them to be regarded as graduates. They require special attention, arrangements and modification. Teachers are being taught in workshops the special attention they need to give children with disabilities in accordance with the new curriculum.

"Parents and teachers should know when to start empowering and including the learners. There is need for inclusive education as a process of increasing facilities for disabled students in all schools," said Mr Mandeya.

He said the ministry was creating a conducive learning environment for them. "When it comes to examinations, severely disabled students such as the hearing and visually impaired should be given appropriate time and resources such as devices to enable them to exhibit their potential during classes and in examinations.

"We are creating a conducive education and training environment that is responsive to the needs of all learners for their benefit and that of the nation," he said.

Material production officer in the Sign Language sector Mr Wonderful Mahuba said: "The ministry is concerned with the disabled learners, so far we proposed the syllabus and development of the sign language dictionary. We also urge parents with disabled children to register these learners in time and indicate the nature of their disability. We urge them to make sure there are things such as furniture and braille sheets to assist the student. If there is anything needed at school to help the student, request for these through the directors," said Mr Mahuba.

A College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe member, who is also a representative of the national executive board for those living with disability, Mr Peter Masendeke said society, parents and teachers should encourage disabled students to do their best.

"Parents with disabled children must empower them, they should think positively. Also these children need to be enabled physically for example acquiring wheel chairs to overcome challenges presented by their disability.

"I urge society to empower these students through socialisation and education. If we boost their self confidence they will see how unique they are and perform better. Even if they go up to 'O' or 'A' level and fail, it will sharpen their minds," said Mr Masendeke.

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