Yearning for Education

Having Muscular Dystrophy, nine years old Asad Jan was enrolled in Government Prmary School, Shakar Dhand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. His disability became one of the major hindrances in his quest for education as his classmates would target his disability in routine conversation.

“My school and classfellows would always taunt me about my disability,” says Asad Jan, adding that the village children too would pinpoint his disability whether they were playing or studying. After being enrolled in the school, Asad Jan would go to the school on a tri-cycle but the bumpy road caused his fall twice while crossing the water rivulets.

The local communities’ members contact CHEF International for the provision of facilities for the disabled children in the school. CHEF International engaged the communities at large and the teachers as they themselves are often unaware of the potential of children with special needs.

CHEF International recommends that the children with special needs must be enrolled in schools. After the assessment of their disabilities by a team of a doctor, a psychologist and a special educator in schools, the child must be placed in appropriate educational settings.  As its particular methodology, CHEF International ensured the first step to including children with disabilities in mainstream schools by the provision of adapted school facilities e.g. ramps, water taps, toilets, special equipment and apparatus as well as making appropriate teaching and learning materials available.

“The government must introduce schemes to provide educational opportunities for the disabled children in normal schools so as to facilitate their retention in the school system,” says Asad Jan, adding that children with severe multiple disabilities who have difficulty in coping with regular schools be referred to special schools. He further said that inclusive education requires drawing up, implementing and assessing plans and policies that favour inclusive education for all.

Poorly adapted infrastructures and a lack of accessible learning materials are significant obstacles for the children with disabilities in government schools. This is particularly true in rural areas where increased levels of poverty, poor services and recurrent infrastructure failings exacerbate these existing problems for children with disabilities. School curricula that solely rely on passive learning methods such as drilling, dictation and copying from the blackboard, which further limit access to quality education for children with disabilities.

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