CSOs Advocate for Improved Access to Education for Children with Disabilities

MASAKA,(UG)-Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) caring for persons with disabilities (PWDs) have decried inadequate funding, saying it has affected the implementation of an inclusive education policy in the country.

According to the CSOs, the lack of assistive devices such as braille, large print, tactile books, and audiobooks has excluded many children from school.

Edward Otim, the programmes manager at Sense International Uganda, in a recent interview with our reporter, said only five out of nine districts in the greater Masaka sub-region have recruited education officers with special needs, and yet inclusive education for PWDs cannot be realized without grassroot implementers and supervisors. Similarly, Richard Musisi, the Executive Director of the Association of People with Disabilities Living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda (APHA-Uganda), said out of the 2.5 million children living with disabilities in the country, only 250,000 have access to education.

Musisi urged the government to make study materials for the group available as well as resources to facilitate the implementation of the inclusive education policy. The National Council for Disability identifies multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, blindness, visual impairment, dystrophy, and deafness as the most common disabilities among learners. According to the organisation, many schools cannot manage such disabilities due to a lack of resources.

The Ministry of Education’s commissioner for special needs and inclusive education, Sarah Bugosi Kiboli, said nationwide efforts are being made to hire education officers with knowledge about special needs to facilitate the smooth implementation of the policy.