Inclusion Now 51

International Inclusion: voices from the Global Disability Summit

At the Global Disability Summit, Michelle Daley, ALLFIE’s interim Director, asked delegates from around the world about the state of inclusive education in their countries.

Jessie Chiyamwaka – Malawi. Chief Disability Rehabilitation Officer

Jessie Chiyamwaka“[Government] developed an inclusive education strategy. Mainstreaming in every department. We need to do a lot of capacity building with every teacher so that inclusiveness starts at the ground level.”


Jorge Enrique Muñoz Morales – Columbia. Latin American Network of NGO DPOs and families

Jorge Enrique Munoz MoralesIn Columbia our government have been developing some measures to promote inclusive education which is adapted to the convention and to guarantee communication for children with disabilities. For example a deaf child can get a sign language interpreter in classes. Inclusive education just started last year but the main goal is to accomplish what has been set in our law within the next five years.”

Hon Hajjati Safia Nalule Juuko – Uganda. National Member of Parliament, representing persons with disabilities

“Five years ago we started a policy on inclusive education but it is not finalised. We have a Special Needs Education Department with the Ministry of Education but it is highly under funded. Inclusive education can be achieved if there is financial commitment but it requires money. We have laws and institutional mechanisms but we need enough teachers, resources, technology for this to be achieved.”

Alexia Ncube – Namibia. Deputy Minister responsible for Disability Affairs

“A policy was adopted in 2013 that has a lot of progressive things within it, that talks about including children within mainstream schools. Some milestones have been achieved for example five schools enrolling deaf children and blind children. There are challenges – due to lack of resources we have not implemented the policy in its entirety. Some children with intellectual disabilities do not attend mainstream classes because there are no resources to support them within the classroom. They have moved from special to resourced schools.”

Ryan Gersava – Philippines. International Young Persons with Disabilities Programme

“The Philippines are training more teachers for special education so children with disabilities can go to mainstream school without fear of discrimination. The infrastructure is not yet ready because inclusive education is not a priority.”

Alexandra Kutas – Ukraine. International Young Persons with Disabilities Programme

“The First Lady of my country, wife of the president, is doing some good stuff to promote the importance of inclusive education but we need a systematic approach and real changes for inclusive education to really work.”


Jaden Lake – Canada. International Young Persons with Disability Programme

Father Mike Lake (Canadian Member of Parliament): “When Jaden attended a regular classroom we didn’t realise the amazing positive impact it had on the other kids. Every one of them would say that their lives are better off for having Jaden in them. When you include people like Jaden in schools everybody’s definition changes to include [others].”

Dr. Dennis Sinyolo – Global. Education International Senior Coordinator

“Inclusive education is very important and all governments should legislate for it. It’s not just about policy, it’s about implementation. Teachers tells us they want to include disabled children but they don’t have skills and resources. Inclusive education should be provided through in-service training and continuous professional development. School infrastructure needs to be accessible and friendly for all learners. Bottom line: government to commit to make it happen.”

Hon Sen (Dr) Isaac Maigua Mwaura, CBS – Kenya. MP

“90 special schools in Kenya, 3,000 special units in mainstream schools but those units have a problem because they lump all disabled children in these units without proper provision. So the units become a dumping ground for disabled children. Budget remains consistent with no increase, making inclusive education difficult to achieve.”

Sarah Kamau – Kenya. Association of Professional Women with Disabilities

“What is not working is many children with disabilities are not getting early childhood assessments so that they can get the right kind of support. This is really lacking. There has been sign language introduced. There has been introduction of access and Braille in some schools but it needs to go wider, even into university. We need to do more and need more resources.”

Thomas Ongola – African Union. Disability Expert, Social Affairs Department

“For inclusive education to work better we need rapid short training for teachers on technical aspects and to have a sandwich programme. It will have a ripple effect. It would have less wastage and improve inclusive education teachers.”

Rose Achayo – Uganda. Chair, National Union of Women with Disabilities

Rose Achayo“Northern Uganda talks about inclusive education but not in the context of the disability movement. So it is special needs education that is what Uganda defines as inclusive education. We have a lot of units for example for people with visual impairments, schools for blind children, schools for the deaf, schools for handicapped and schools for deaf & blind. The mainstream education that Uganda is talking about is where a disabled learner can access it without any adjustments made. The disabled student has to access the school based on what they can manage. If they cannot manage they are not welcomed. This is not inclusive education.”

Laura Kanushu – Uganda. Executive Director of legal action for persons with disabilities

“In Western Uganda I don’t even think inclusive education exists. In Uganda the ministry needs to learn more about what inclusive education means because it is still not a common thing on the norm. We need to sensitise the government to convince them it’s a human rights issue. Also the government needs to learn from other countries.”

Simone Aspis – UK. Policy and Campaigns Coordinator for the Alliance for Inclusive Education

Simone Aspis seated at the Civil Society Forum“We are also calling for the removal of the reservation on Article 24 and full implementation of Disabled people’s human right to inclusive education.”