The Minister of Education and Training says education is a fundamental human right and indispensable for the achievement of sustainable development hence his ministry is mandated to ensure provision of quality education to all learners including those with diverse learning needs at all levels.
Professor Ntoi Rapapa said this when officially launching the Lesotho Inclusive Education Policy (LIEP) at an event held in Maseru on Wednesday.
He therefore expressed gratitude that learners with special education needs who have long been marginalised concerning access education will now freely have access to education.
He said the policy is in line with ‘education for all’ policy and that it will also help in the achievement of SDGs, particularly SDG 4: ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’, as well as SDG 10 : ‘Reduce inequality within and among countries’.
Prof. Rapapa commended the government of the Kingdom of Japan for the grant of M260 million intended to rehabilitate four secondary schools and have devices installed to make learning easy for learners with disability, saying the schools are: Motsekuoa, Abia, St. Catherine’s and Mount Royal High Schools.
Also speaking, the acting Minister of Social Development, Mr. Temeki Ts’olo said his ministry’s mandate is to ensure social development of nation, saying education is also vital for the nation’s development hence appealed to relevant ministries to join hands in ensuring that all groups of people have access to education as a basic need.
Mr. Ts’olo added that the Ministry awaits enactment of the Disability Equity Bill into Law as soon as the Parliament reopens, saying this will ensure that all have access to quality education.
The Manager Special Education Unit, Mrs. Mapaballo Setlaba said LIEP aims to ensure that all learners are afforded opportunities that enable them to access high-quality instruction, intervention and support so that they experience success in learning.
She added that it also aims to improve teaching and learning environment, thus strengthening capacity of education providers in supporting learners with special education needs.
speaking at the same event, the Lesotho National Federation of Organisations of the Disabled (LNFOD) Executive Director, Adv. Nkhasi Sefuthi expressed gratitude over the initiated policy thus describing the achievement as a milestone, saying people living with disabilities have for a long time been sidelined at people living. He therefore xpressed hope that their diverse needs will be respected and be given chance to partake in economic growth as citizens of Lesotho.
Adv. Sefuthi called on development partners to sponsor the policy as it will need resources to address their different needs, further urging the Lesotho Government to allocate budget for implementation of the policy which he said will only be a game changer if implemented other than being launched.
Lesotho Inclusive Education Policy advocates for educational systems with an approach that serves the needs of all learners while identifying and overcoming barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from being included in the educational system.
Source: LENA 08/08/2019