Some parents in Chief Chipepo’s area in Kapiri Mposhi district are reportedly hiding away their children living with disabilities from accessing education due to misconceptions on disabilities in the area.
The development has irked the education sector technocrats in the area who have called for enhanced sensitisation against the trend.
ZANIS reports that this came to light during the World Vision Zambia Literacy and Child Protection sensitisation meetings in Musosoloke Area Development Programme (ADP) in Chipepo Chiefdom.
Kapiri Mposhi District Education Standards Special Education Officer, Grace Chintende observed that as a result of various misconceptions and ignorance on disabilities some households are hiding away their children living with disabilities.
The trend is discriminatory as it is denying these children access to education opportunities adding that this is against the government’s policy to provide education to all.
Children regardless of their physical or psycho-social disabilities have the right to quality, equitable and inclusive access to education.
“Largely fearing stigma due to ignorance and how communities regard issues of disabilities most children with special needs are being hidden and are not enrolled into school… but this is denying these children their rights to education and these cases are becoming very common in this part of Kapiri Mposhi,” Ms Chintende said.
Ms. Chintende disclosed that all schools in the district are able to provide education to children leaving with moderate and mild disabilities stating that cases needing attention can be assessed and referred to specialized schools for people leaving with disabilities across the country.
“Children with physical disabilities such as mobility challenges can still be integrated in our schools and these should not be cause for a child to be secluded from the mainstream education system in their areas,” Ms Chintende said.
Kapiri Mposhi Town has nine special education units to provide assistive learning and screening for early detection and intervention for children leaving disabilities.
And world Vision Zambia Musosoloke ADP Education Officer, Ruth Banda says the organisation will soon start providing assistive learning devices such as hearing devices, lenses, clutches and wheelchairs for children living with disabilities to ease their challenges in learning.
Ms. Banda further says through the same package some teachers from selected schools in the area have been oriented in disability inclusion to cater to the needs of learners with disabilities.
” We will be supporting children with special needs with assistive learning devices, and we trained teachers and school managers trained to enhance the provision of education to this category of learners,” Ms Banda said.
Through the Ministry of Education, the organisation is also encouraging Learning Through Play (LTP) programme to ease the learning process of children, especially those leaving with disabilities.
The sensitisation program being carried out in school s includes presentation on ending early marriages and pregnancies, water and sanitation and COVID-19 from line government ministries such as Education, Health and the Child Protection Unit from Zambia Police.