KOTA KINABALU: All children, including those who are disabled, should be able to attend the mainstream school in their own community.
Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister, Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun said during the closing of the Forum and Workshop on Accessibility – Series 3 on Inclusive Education yesterday that the new Framework for Action which called for all mainstream schools to accommodate all children regardless of their disabilities was introduced during the World Conference on Special Needs Education held in Salamanca, Spain in June 1994.
“Many governments, including Malaysia, and world bodies such as UNESCO had endorsed the Statement and Framework for Action,” she said.
She then called on the Education Ministry and related government authorities to provide all necessary assistance to persons with disabilities to facilitate their education including barrier free and non-discriminatory environment.
She also commended the organizers for organizing the event and said that its focus is to spread the message of the importance of education to people with disabilities and that they must seize whatever opportunities available to further their education.
“I believe that through education they could increase their prospect in getting good jobs and compete in the employment market,” she said. More than 200 participants took part in the day event.
During the length of the workshop, the participants came up with 11 recommendations and resolutions which should be given serious attention by the Education Ministry, said Azizah.
In their recommendations, the participants urged the Malaysian government to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; create an appropriate inclusive educational environment which are disable-friendly, so that all children can attend mainstream schools regardless of their abilities / disabilities; provide adequate funding to all related Non Government Organisations to ensure continuous provision of quality services and programs to those who need them, and employ an individualised education plan (IEP) for each child with a disability or disabilities–a combined effort involving parents, the individual’s speech therapist, physiologist, psychiatrist and occupational therapist to ensure an effective intervention plan.
They also called for the government to remove the terminologies “educable” and non-educable” currently used in the Education Act 1996, and to ensure that the provisions of early intervention quality services are made available throughout Malaysia.
The government is also urged to provide facilities in all schools so as to ensure the education of the physically disabled not be restricted; to incorporate into the teacher’s training curriculum, a special education related content to equip teachers in mainstream schools in teaching, facilitating and coping with students with disabilities; to change society’s perception of children with disabilities by creating regular awareness campaigns and programs; to change from charity-based to service oriented philosophy in the provision of special education services that is based on the students inherent rights as citizens and to allocate the necessary resources for continuous research in identifying new methodologies and enhancing existing services and programs for children with disabilities.
Sumber: New Sabah Times