Tag Archives: European Union

Inclusive Education in South Africa

As soon as democracy was established in South Africa, the provision of education for learners with disabilities in the country has become a part of its development. Everyone has the right to “a basic education, including basic adult education; and to further education, which the state through reasonable measures must make progressively available and accessible,” and the state may not discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including disability (Section 29, Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act No. 108 of 1996).

So, in 2001, the Department of Education has come up with a framework that would address the diverse needs of all learners who experience barriers to learning. It asserted that in order to make inclusive education a reality, there must be a conceptual shift regarding the provision of support for learners who experience barriers to learning.

This framework—the Universal Design for Learning (UDL)—has been based in the fields of cognitive science and neuroscience that stipulates how we learn through memory, language processing, perception, problem solving, and thinking. At its heart is the design of goals, methods, materials, and assessments that make it accessible to all students, with disabilities or none.

It came out good; the European Union has come to support the initiative of this country three years after. It placed South Africa on its “best footing,” chief education specialist Marie Schoeman opined in the article “Working Towards Inclusive Education in South Africa.”

“In general there is cohesion between these projects,” she added. “They look at all learners who are experiencing barriers to learning, and improve their chances for through-put, which is a big concern in South Africa, where only a little more than half the learner population which starts in Grade R finishes school because of poverty, neglect and learning difficulties.”

Every child has come to be supplied then with numeracy and literacy workbooks from day one in Grade R to the end of compulsory education in Grade 91. The books were printed on sustainable papers with toxin-free ink and available in all eleven of South Africa’s official languages—including braille and large print—for the price of less than a croissant each.

There has also been “full-service schools2,” one of which is the Isiziba Primary School located in Gauteng’s Ekhuruleni North District. Nonprofit organization Inclusive Education South Africa continues to support and promote positive models of schools and learning centers there.

The remaining problem is teacher necessity, which South Africa solved through its “Teaching and Learning Development (TLD) Sector Reform Program.” It developed a teacher education system in 2015 to assist early childhood development educators, primary school teachers, special needs teachers, technical and vocational education and training lecturers, community education and training lecturers, and the professional development of university academics.

The education system will play a greater role in building an inclusive society, providing equal opportunities and helping all South Africans to realise their full potential, in particular those previously disadvantaged by apartheid policies, namely black people, women and people with disabilities.” ~ South African government’s 2009 National Development Plan


Video taken from the YouTube Channel of World of Inclusion

1This was carried out by printing companies Lebone Litho and Paarl Media, and delivery firm UTI, in 2012. This action resulted in 3,600 permanent jobs and 5,000 temporary ones.

2Full-service schools are those that welcome children with different educational needs.

Turning One!

Preposterous it will sound if The PWD Forum would claim a hand on how the welfare of persons with disabilities (PWDs) throughout the world has improved in the last 12 months.

In my home country, various sectors have realized that the disaster risk reduction and management programs currently in place there should be more responsive.

The PWD Forum has written about how necessary these kinds of plans are in the Philippines since the country is almost always plagued by typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and tsunamis last July 14, 2014. It has 726 readers there.

In the place where I am now, a team has been sent to the United Nations to organize a series of events concerning PWDs and highlight the country’s policies.

The PWD Forum has reported how the United Arab Emirates provides an environment conducive for PWDs like Feras and Wael Al Moubayed last October 28, 2014 as well as Kaltham Obaid Bakheet last April 28, 2015. It has 212 viewers there.

Elsewhere, some corporations have called for “an inclusive society” together with the PWDs. Some educational institutions have taught job skills to them, and some politicians have taken it upon themselves to provide assistive devices.

The PWD Forum has been seen in 43 other countries. Among these are the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, India, Lebanon, Germany, Australia, Japan, Jamaica, Belgium, Singapore, Switzerland, Pakistan, member states of the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Hong Kong, France, Taiwan, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Africa, Jordan, Bhutan, Spain, Indonesia, South Korea, Norway, Portugal, Qatar, Turkey, Thailand, Kenya, Bahamas, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Israel, Puerto Rico, Serbia, Austria, Poland, Vietnam, and Moldova.

Early on, The PWD Forum has wanted special education for all. But after sometime, it began to wonder if what it is advocating for is plausible especially in the third-world countries where PWDs are plenty. It has then thought to compromise: just another kind of special education for non-PWDs if they couldn’t be put together with the PWDs!

But Ashish Goyal didn’t learn numbers in a specialized school. Apolinario Mabini was able to study in two prestigious universities in the Philippines and had even set up a private school on his own. The mother of Tatyana McFadden had still enrolled her daughter in various sports activities even though Tatyana was born with spina bifida.

Special education must really be imparted to everyone then. Even the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has thought so. Disability rates are significantly higher among groups with lower educational attainment among its members, which include 14 countries.

Moreover, the United Nations Development Program found out that 80% of the PWDs in the world live in developing countries. People also spend 8 years of their life span living with disabilities. The aim of The PWD Forum from the start should still hold after all.

 “The PWD Forum aims to increase the awareness of the ‘normal’ people—particularly those in governments—to the true situation of people with disabilities (PWDs). It would just be a plus if there would be PWDs and non-PWDs alike who would join the discussions and/or initiate the conversations themselves.”

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Perkins Vision