Promoting education and training of disabled people (in South Africa and Lesotho)
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.