The parliamentary portfolio committee on Primary and Secondary Education has announced that public consultations on the Education Amendment Bill will start 1st of April 2019 in Chinhoyi. This is a welcome development as the Bill is suggesting free state funded basic education which if implemented well will also reduce the literacy rate for young girls from disadvantaged families. The bill is also proposing raft of changes for PWDs such as:
Every registered school shall provide infrastructure, subject to availability of resources, suitable for use by pupils with disabilities.
The Secretary shall monitor and enter premises of every registered school for the purposes of ascertaining whether the rights of pupils with disabilities are taken into account during teaching and learning.
For the purposes of fees approval, the Secretary shall require every registered school to submit a plan highlighting how the school shall advance the rights of pupils with disabilities.
However, the ICOD Zim is concerned that the bill is silent on special schools for persons with disability yet persons with disability feel that the schools are not yet ready to be inclusive. The limitation that subject to availability of resources has resulted in the Bill not addressing enforcement of the right to education for pupils with disability.
ICODZIM following some consultation with its members feel that bill needs to recognize and give exception for young persons with disability. Recently ICODZIM received complaints from parents of young girls with disability who were being forced to leave education facilities (specialised schools) because they had reached 18 yet researches has proven that the development rate of children with disability depending with nature of disability is not at par with able bodied children.
ICODZIM intends to package the bill in an accessible manner, share it with its partner organizations such as Zimbabwe Association for Visually Impaired Teachers Hugo school of the Blind, Ratidzo Zimcare trust, parents and guardians of pupils with disability and women with disability so that they are able to familiarise with the bill prior to consultations.
ICODZIM will therefore implement several interventions to ensure young people with disability, their concerns and priorities are captured by the portfolio committee and then prepare written submissions basing on recommendations from the community to be submitted to the portfolio committee.
Source: Institute for Community Development in Zimbabwe Trust (ICODZIM)