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Enforcement of inclusive education laws still suffers from gaps

Deputy DG of REB, Tusiime Angelique (l), ES of RNUD Sam Munana (C) and Dr Mukarwego Betty , Vice-President of NCPD (R)-Photo/Kagahe Jean Louis

While domestic laws and international instruments for inclusive education are recognized in Rwanda, there are still major gaps in their implementation both pedagogically and infra- structure.

During the “Rwanda Disability Summit held in Kigali on June 26, 2018”, partners working to promote the well-being of people with disabilities, especially with regard to inclusive education, analyzed the achievements of the Rwandan government in this way , to finally highlight the remaining gaps and make proposals for solutions.

According to Dr. Mukarwego Betty, Vice-President of NCPD, also President of women in RUB (Rwanda Union of Blinds) and Lecturer in UR / College of Education,  “children with disabilities have the right to receive adequate education in the same way as other children”

However, she regrets that certain difficulties persist and are particularly related to school infrastructure not adapted to the condition of children with disabilities, to long distances separating the school from their home, and especially to mind set of parents or children themselves who think that the disabled child cannot study like  others.

In this regard, Dr. Mukarwego suggests that exchanges should take place between inclusive education professionals and parents, with children with disabilities themselves and with school officials or owners.

On the other hand, “disabled children need prostheses, and quite often it requires specialized education especially for deaf mutes or the blind,” she added.

For his part, Sam Munana, Executive Sectertary of Rwanda National Union of Deaf (RNUD), government efforts are evident in promoting inclusive education.

“Not only the constitution and other laws promoting inclusive education are there, but also the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy II (  EDPRS II ) has focused in particular on the promotion of the well-being of people with disability “.

Referring to finding durable solutions for effective inclusive education, Sam Munana also suggested that the specific budget be allocated to the promotion of inclusive education.

Sam proposes the setting up of school programs adapted to the different categories of children with disability (blind, deaf, etc.) and to train specialized teachers accordingly.

“At the same time, the government will be able to get schools adapted to the situation of one or another category of children with disability”.

In response to various needs expressed, TusiimeAngélique, Deputy Director with disability  bysaying that the objective of  REB in this area is to maximize the number of children with  disability  in public education.

In collaboration with administrative organs within the Local Ministry, Tusiime emphasized that a census of these categories of children must be made in advance to ensure that they then access schools adapted to their situation.

“With regard to the quality of education to be given to this category of children and the qualification of specialized teachers, special education will be developed in the TTC (Teacher Training Colleges),” said Tusiime.

“The adapted and diversified educational material will be made available to schools to better supervise these children,” she concluded.

“Going to school is no longer a favor, it is a constitutional right” as recently declared by the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Education in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Munyakazi Isaac, and it is in this way that inclusion in education is pursued by the Rwandan government, although some challenges remain.

Izabayo J. Aimé Désiré

The Partner Magazine

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