Disabled kids still lack access to education

Kathmandu, Dec 30

Fifty years have passed since the government officially declared education as a right of all children in the country.

Today, 20,706 children with several types of disabilities have yet to attend school or have dropped out.

While in theory the Nepali government has long promoted an inclusive education policy, in practice not much has been done. It was only in 1964 that Braille was introduced in the country for visually impaired students at the primary level.

Rojina Pokhrel, 15, a visually-impaired student studying in Grade IX in Namuna Mahendra Awasiya School, Lagankhel said like all other children, children with special needs too wanted to attend school.

“If we are provided with opportunities to educate and improve ourselves, we too can make our dreams come true and contribute to society.”

Madhav Prasad Aryal, secretary of Ankur Foundation for Inclusive Education said there was little development in the educational sector.

Among 30,240 children with disability, only 9,534 students have access to the school from Grade I to X, while the remaining children are either living too far away or severely disabled.

Aryal said, “When the United Nations celebrated International Year of Disabled Persons in 1984, Nepal had then carried out a sample survey on disability in six representative districts.”

The survey revealed that 3.003 percent of the population had some form of disability in Nepal. Among them, 26 per cent were visually impaired or blind while the number of school aged children was estimated at 48 000.

Buddha Laxmi Shrestha, a teacher cited lack of hostels as yet another reason for not being unable to attend school. “There are more than 50 visually impaired students who are on a waiting list.

The school,however, does not have the budget to either increase hostel space nor build disabled-friendly facilities.”