THE Lesotho National Federation of the Disabled (LNFOD) this week met with the Minister of Education and Training, Mokhele Moletsane at his Maseru offices, as part of its efforts to expedite the adoption of the inclusive education policy to benefit learners with disabilities.
The Ministry of Education and Training has currently working on an inclusive education policy to ensure all learners including those with disabilities have full access to the general education system.
LNFOD Executive Director, Advocate Nkhasi Sefuthi, this week told the Lesotho Times that LNFOD has been collaborating with the ministry, organisations of persons with disabilities as well as academic institutions on a programme of inclusive education since August 2016.
He said the policy would guide all stakeholders including the ministry on how teachers as well as learners with special needs and their parents would handle inclusive education.
It would also facilitate the provision of decent accommodation for learners with disabilities.
“The policy will assist the government to make its general education system accessible and inclusive of learners with disabilities,” Advocate Sefuthi said, adding the policy framework would also serve as a basis for the allocation of a budget.
Commenting on the current challenges facing children with disabilities in the education sector, Advocate Sefuthi said they lacked adequate educational resources due to the lack of a specific budget allocation.
He said the situation was compounded by the fact that most special schools in country were located in urban areas and some learners had the onerous task of relocating from their villages to access the schools.
He said this was not an easy task because of the financial implications.
“The other challenge is the issue of physical accessibility because of the schools’ infrastructure where children with physical disabilities are not able to access classrooms or even toilets.”
He said like any child, those with disabilities had rights to education and education that is relevant and accessible to them without any obstacles that might hinder their performance.
He further said it was his organisation’s responsibility to ensure the speedy implementation of the inclusive education policy.