Education policy makers and opinion leaders are meeting in Nairobi this week to discuss the initiatives African governments are making to entrench disability inclusive education in Africa in their respective education systems.
The Acting Director for Special Education, Mr. Fredrick Haga said international agreements and conventions are calling for education services to be provided in an inclusive manner.
He said inclusive education happens when children with and without disabilities participate and learn together in the same classes, saying research shows that when a child with disabilities attends classes alongside peers who do not have disabilities, good things happen.
He said the conventions have questioned the efficacy of segregating education for learners with disabilities from conventional schooling.
“The objective of the workshop is to create opportunities for sharing knowledge and capacity building for effective disability- inclusive education planning and practices in Africa,” Mr. Hwaga said.
He said it will also provide a chance for fostering south-South exchange and local solutions to disability inclusive education as well as strengthening regional and country-specific networks in Africa to promote disability-inclusive education
The acting Director said the workshop has attracted staff of the World Bank, USAID and UNICEF from the Africa region, and from Washington D.C. as well as Education officials from 11 countries in the Africa region namely Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, The Gambia, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia and Kenya.
He said Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) No. 4 underscores inclusive quality education and lifelong learning for all, saying however, that children with disabilities have been greatly disadvantaged in education systems across the world, especially in Africa.
Haga said 60% to 70% of learners with disabilities in Kenya were in regular schools, noting this was the trend that should be expanded if inclusive education was to be realised as far as possible.