News / Africa

Zimbabwe Accused of Neglecting Disabled Students, Teachers

Pupils are taught by a senior student at a primary school in Budiriro Township, in Harare on February 11, 2009 (file photo).Pupils are taught by a senior student at a primary school in Budiriro Township, in Harare on February 11, 2009 (file photo).
x
Pupils are taught by a senior student at a primary school in Budiriro Township, in Harare on February 11, 2009 (file photo).
Pupils are taught by a senior student at a primary school in Budiriro Township, in Harare on February 11, 2009 (file photo).
Despite the U.N. Children's Fund and other international donors, the government of Zimbabwe has yet to ensure the needs of disabled students and teachers are met.  The situation is still dire three years after UNICEF launched the Education Transition Fund in 2009 in response to serious shortages of learning materials and supplies in schools.

Zimbabwean Government Accused of Neglecting Disabled Students,Teachers
Zimbabwean Government Accused of Neglecting Disabled Students,Teachers i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

The Mtshede Primary School in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe is of the few places where this international support has made a difference.  One of the students, John, for the past seven years has struggled to get into his classroom.  There were no ramps for his wheelchair.  That changed because of funding from UNICEF's Education Transition Fund established for Zimbabwe in 2009. However, John is one of the few disabled students to receive help.

The blind headmistress at a rural high school in Masvingo, Rosewiter Mudarikwa, says the government of Zimbabwe is still giving the majority children learning with disabilities a raw deal.

"If you are with a disability you are like any other person...  There are safety nets that we have been trying to ensure ... but to tell you the truth there is never enough for children with disabilities," said Mudarikwa.  "So most of the children with disabilities come from very poor families.  The deaf, the blind would do well if they get the specialized equipment.  Getting that is a huge challenge."

Since the formation of Zimbabwe's uneasy coalition government in 2009, international donors have chipped in to revamp Zimbabwe's education sector, which almost collapsed because of a lack of funding.  Zimbabwe Education Minister David Coltart acknowledges little progress, but says his government is working hard to ensure life for children with disabilities is better at schools.

"Two years ago, we announced our inclusive policy, which is designed to transform all our schools accessible to children with disabilities," said Coltart.  "That is just a policy at the moment.  There is a lot of work that needs to be done. "

Coltart says that includes erecting ramps at all schools and getting reading material for blind students.

"The Braille materials have been dispatched in primary schools," Coltart noted.  "The secondary school program is ongoing.  I think that some of the Braille books have been sent, but there is a balance which is still has be [manufactured] and distributed to schools."

Headmistress Mudarikwa, who is with the Federation of Organizations of Disabled People of Zimbabwe, says the needs of disabled teachers and students are varied and much more needs to be done.

"Most of them cannot use a computer because there are no screen readers," Mudarikwa explained.  "Most of them they cannot use their mobile phones because you will not be able to read their messages, even if it is confidential you have to ask someone to do that...  That is not the kind of independence we want.  We are simply saying that we are literate.  The only difference is that we read in a different way.  We can listen to if it is audio, or we can read it if it is in Braille.  But when that is not available we feel discriminated [against] because we cannot access information the way we want."

It remains to be seen if the plight of disabled children in Zimbabwe is better funded by a government that continues to be cash-strapped.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid