Article 24 of the U.N. Convention recognizes the rights of persons with
disabilities to education. This research focused on analyzing and
understanding the constraints and opportunities for disabled people to
access primary, secondary and tertiary training in institutions. The
research was carried out in Lesotho and South Africa's 3 provinces -
i.e. Gauteng, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal. Some 250 people, including
parents of disabled children, teachers and administrators were included
in the study. To give the exercise a participant stakeholders'
perspective, interviews were held with teachers, administrators, parents
of disabled children and people with different categories of disability
(physically disabled, visually impaired, and the mentally retarded). A
literature review on promoting education and training of disabled people
was also conducted.
The findings focus on Disabled People's Organisations (DPOs) and
whether or not they are effective. Field experiences indicate that some
DPOs need to work hard to improve their image, since they have failed to
represent disabled persons' needs in education, and other social
issues. There is need for capacity building to help the growth of some
of the DPOs. In education, serious policy implications need to be looked
into. DPOs have to lobby and do a lot of advocacy in order to help in
the promotion of education and training of disabled people. Awareness
programmes and campaigns by both Governments and DPOs are needed.
In the recommendations, some serious issues are raised on employment of
the disabled, early education facilities and training of manpower to
help disabled people.
Southern African Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD), Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, 16 pp.
Promoting education and training of disabled people (in South Africa and Lesotho)