The Deaf Bulletin 2019 Issue 7 covers July Stories and more.
Parliamentarians call for the amendment of the Disabled Persons Act – By
‘There is urgent need to re-examine the Disabled Persons Act of 1992 in order to ensure that it conforms to the provisions of the constitution’, a cross-section of parliamentarians has said. Speaking during a Parliamentary Working Group on Disability meeting organized by Deaf Zimbabwe Trust in Harare, Parliamentarians said the Disabled Persons Act of 1992 is no longer effective as it does not cater for all forms of Disabilities and some issues in the Act do not speak to current issues that affect Persons with Disabilities.
The Parliamentarians added that change in policies could only be achieved through adequate representation of Persons with Disabilities in Cabinet and Senate. They highlighted that the burden of representation was too high for the two senators provided for under the Electoral Act Chapter 2: 13 hence the need to build capacities for Person Disabilities through ensuring participation and contribution on critical platforms in order to influence change.
They further stated that Disability issues should be considered as Human Right issues in order to ensure that they are not regarded as peripheral issues. The delegates emphasized the role of the media in promoting positive coverage on disability matters and in ensuring that PWDs have access to information through mass media. The Parliamentary Working Group on Disabilities is a group that comprises of members of parliament who were identified through interaction with DZT to champion disability issues in Parliament.
Urgent need for practical Inclusive Education – By Mirirai Nyabvure.
In a country that values education so highly, some of us flourish in acquiring skills and knowledge while others get left behind. The key cause of “getting left behind”; having a disability. Most countries in Africa, Zimbabwe included, are still grappling with the problem of making provisions for children with special needs even on mainstreaming basis.
Children with Disabilities continue to be stigmatized and excluded from education due to a combination of fear, shame, and ignorance. Inadequate policy and lack of resources lead to an educational environment that is inadequately designed to provide for these children. Some would say policymakers who do not understand the concept ofInclusive education can be a barrier to implementation of this wonderful aspect of education while others say policymakers most at times play non-chalet attitudes to promote inclusive education!
Inclusive education is being embraced in theory and more work on a practical note is needed. The situation in schools purported to be offering inclusive education is deplorable. Firstly, the teacher-student ratio is an evident factor which hinders the teachers from giving individual attention to learners with disability. In turn, learners with disabilities go to school but not to learn.
Another constraint to inclusive education is a serious shortage of educational resources; inadequate facilities, and lack of professionally trained qualified staff. There are no syllabi for children with Disabilities from grade 4 up to form six and it is very difficult to simplify the current syllabi for the children with disabilities to comprehend. For teaching and learning to be enhanced in inclusive classrooms, the teachers should be trained in certain skills like Sign Language for the hearing impaired and the school should be equipped also with the right infrastructural and instructional materials such as the right textbooks and buildings for each case of specialty.
All this is lacking in most of the inclusive schools and it ignites numerous debates on inclusive education ranging from issues of access to quality and purpose. There is need to address the marginalization of children with Disabilities and its limiting outcomes. This can only be done through a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of educational needs, by ensuring access to learning for all groups of children within mainstream education; inclusive education.
Enhancing access to treatment for Persons with Disabilities through employment creation – Tino Chikunya
Harare Healthcare Service Providers have called for the em-ployment of Deaf Persons in Health Institutions as a way of ensuring enhanced access, treatment, care and support for persons with disabilities. Speaking during a discussion forum for Healthcare Service Providers (HSPs) at Wilkins Hospital recently, the Healthcare providers said the inclusion of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will ensure effective communication between patients and healthcare personnel.
They added that having persons with Disabilities in clinics and Hospitals will provide accessible health experiences for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The HSPs also highlighted that hospitals should have Disability Friendly infrastructure as currently, the facilities do not cater for all forms of disabilities.
The forum also revealed that there was need for adolescent-friendly corners which provide information in both braille and sign language at all health institutions as a way of curbing misinformation on HIV and AIDS-related issues among the disability community.