Disability Rights Summit: Disabled children to be accomodated in mainstream schools by 2021 – government
Pretoria – The South African government will ensure students with disabilities are accommodated in mainstream schools by 2021, President Jacob Zuma announced on Thursday.
Speaking at the Disability Rights Summit and Launch of Presidential Working Group on Disability in Irene, Pretoria, Zuma said, “They should all be able to attend their local neighbouring schools and receive the necessary support”.
The summit was hosted by the department of social development. It’s to analyse and convert the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into realisable outcomes through practical implementation.
The call for the integration of children with disabilities into mainstream schools was first made by the Minister for Social Development Bathabile Dlamini, in 2014 during a visit to the Adelaide Tambo School in Soweto.
According to Zuma, more than 6 850 students with disabilities have been enrolled at higher education institutions, and over 2 800 were enrolled at TVET Colleges in 2014.
SA Sign Language
He said more needed to be done to ensure deaf South Africans were able to access information and communication. Last year, a South African Sign Language curriculum was introduced at school level.
Deaf South Africans continue to experience high levels of marginalisation and exclusion due to a general lack of understanding of deaf culture, lack of South African Sign Language proficiency, and the availability of and expense associated with professional sign language interpreter services. This limited the social participation and integration of deaf persons.
Representatives of the disability sector had previously suggested one way of addressing this was having South African Sign Language recognised as an official language in the Constitution, and that the country needed to seriously discuss this matter if it was to “walk the talk” in advancing the rights of the disabled.