For normal children this ratio is one in 1300
LAHORE: The speakers of s seminar on “Right to Education – Case of Children with Disabilities” have said that the number of disabled children out of school was 95% as compared to their counterpart children without disabilities 34% while the students to school ratio was 1:1300 whereas this ratio for children with disabilities was 1:5800 which is alarming.
The seminar was organised by the University of Management & Technology (UMT) at its Johar Town campus. Dean School of Social Sciences and Humanities Prof Dr Abdul Hameed chaired the seminar and panel discussion, while guest speakers included Director Punjab Welfare Trust for Disables Dr Izhar Hashmi, Director Department of Special Education Faazil Cheema, Dr Abrar Ahmad, Public Health specialist, Tauqir Ahmad Sharifi, Dr Zahid Mahmood and Sajid Masood. Speakers said only free transport, free uniform and free books with Rs 800 subsistence allowance could not bring children to school. The Free and Compulsory Education Act 2014 mandates that each child should be in school and school or parent will be held accountable in case the law is violated. It would be, however, naïve to think that any forceful executive order will push these children into schools unless the mindset of our public school is changed.
“Our school system is dull like a bad shopkeeper who thinks that the customers will automatically come to him without any marketing.This can only be possible through inclusive education. Right to Education Legislation has opened a new Pandora box for its implementation and the challenge of out of school children is gigantic,” they said. The seminar highlighted the theme of “No Child Left Behind” and discussed the barriers to school. It was noted that Islam makes it a duty of each individual to acquire knowledge then all individual are educable without exemption. Discussing the case of children with disabilities, it was realised that when distance to school extends beyond two km, the access to school becomes a dream. A recent study reveals that the distance from home to school for children without disability is about half km whereas this distance for children with disabilities is 11km. Inclusive education has emerged as the most effective and economical solution to include children with special needs in schools. It builds on an new look at human diversity, child-centered pedagogy and collaboration among school community.