The Malawi Council for the Handicapped (Macoha) has called for the need to make Early Childhood Development (ECD) more inclusive as a means of giving an opportunity to children with disabilities to attain education.
Macoha Executive Director, Peter Ngomwa, made the remarks in Mangochi on Friday when he opened a three-day training for caregivers and teachers in inclusive education. The training was conducted under an ECD project which is being sponsored by Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa)
Ngomwa revealed that findings have shown that children with disabilities are not given an equal chance to go to school because most ECD centres do not have resources that aid learning for children with disabilities,
“Due to that, we are having a lot of disabled children that do not go to school. If this trend continues, we are bound to send people with disabilities into perpetual poverty because most of them will not be able to support themselves in the absence of education,” Ngomwa said.
He, therefore, said with the trainings which his organisation is conducting, more caregivers will be equipped with relevant skills to help children with special needs in some ECD centres, so that they may have an equal chance of competing with other children at school.
According to officials, Mangochi has 12 specialist teachers against 291 primary schools, a development which is said to be disadvantaging more children with special needs who are left unattended to when they are at school.
Macoha Coordinator for the Osisa project Elvis Katete said through various interventions his organisation is conducting, enrollment rate for children with special needs has increased from 20 percent to 60 percent this year and they expect the figures to increase to 90 percent during the next academic year.
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