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Ensuring education for the disabled children

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Nishat Islam :
The 3rd of December is a very significant day for every disabled persons. In 1982, the United Nations declared this day as the international day for the disabled people. Bangladesh are observing this day as an important day like most of the countries in the world. Disabled children are usually unable to perform normally as a consequence of physical or mental unfitness. Poverty creates disability and disability creates poverty. People with disabilities are often among the poorest of the poor. The World Bank estimates that disable people make upto 15-20% of the poor in developing countries. In Bangladesh, most people with disabilities live in the rural areas. They and sometime also the families, are often excluded both from their communities and from development initiatives.  Every human being wants a healthy life. But it is not always possible because sometime natural and main made factors put barriers to their expectations. Children are sometimes born disabled or they get disable in the later stage of life due to accidents or illnesses. These types of obstacles make their life difficult. These difficulties could be overcome with the help of their family members such as parents, brothers, sisters and neighborhood and the state. If their family does not help they face every kind of deprivation and discrimination in the society. Disable persons are denied many rights enjoyed by the normal people. The disabled day observance aims at ensuring equal right and opportunity to the disabled persons.
Disability is classified into five categories according to their nature - physical disability, sensory disability, visual disability, hearing disability and intellectual disability. 3% of the total population are disabled according to the UN report and 4 persons are mentally disabled in each 1000 persons according to the report of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics said that each population of 1000 persons contains 0.16 physically impaired person, 1.02 persons are lame and another .84 person are disabled because of strokes.  According to the report of the WHO, 1% of the total population is blinded. Each year children lose their eye sight due to the lack of vitamin A. If parents are sensible to their child and take proper step in the early stage of their child, the number of blind person could be reduced in the society.
Not only in Bangladesh, the medical model of disability shows the disabled person as the problem to be adapted to fit into the world as it is. The social model of disability shows that the disable people do not face disadvantage because of physical or mental impairment but experience discrimination in many a way, mostly social and other-wise. The society is not well organized that is why society fails to make provision for education, work, leisure and public service. In our country, a great number of disabled persons are children. This number is relatively higher in the rural areas. Where they are deprived of many health facilities. As for education or health facility that are available now is not universally applicable because the city centered policy of the government exclude the disabled person of the rural areas and they remain deprived of their right. A disabled person is the ignored one in each and every sector of the society.
Now a days people are concerned about the disabled children. The disabled children should be given chance to receive education in the normal schools to enable them to interact with the normal people. Otherwise, they will be denied access to the workplace when they become adult taking it granted that they will lack the adaptation attitude. If they are allowed to adapt themselves in the mainstream society, they will have a good chance of selecting their spouses after establishing a proper exchange of understanding. The western courties have developed education systems that included their disabled children in the normal education system.
Bangladesh Government has declared its policy to provide disable persons with jobs according to their disability types. But to execute this policy it must take proper steps to train the disabled person. Private sectors should also follow these directives. To achieve these goals, we have to facilitate the education of the disabled children according to the types of their disabilities. Bangladesh Government along with some NGO's is running some schools for the disabled children especially for the hearing impaired, mentally and visually disabled ones.
The Social Welfare Ministry is enlisting the private organizations that run such programs and allocating funds for them. In a joint venture between the Ministry of Social Welfare and three Norwegian private organizations, a special learning centre for the disabled children (NCSE) was setup in Mirpur in the city. It was in the form of a residential laboratory school where the hearing impaired, visually and also mentally disabled children can get their education.
In addition, a training collage was setup to train teachers for the special education system for the disabled persons. This could be taken as the only public school funded by the government in the country. This indicates that the disable persons in Bangladesh are far away from enjoying the equal rights and opportunities. Their equal access to various sectors of the state is denied with grater reluctance. The scope of education for the dumb and deaf children is much more limited in Bangladesh. There are seven special schools for them in Dhaka, Chittagong, Chadpur, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Faridpur and Khulna. These are run by the Ministry of Social Welfare. But to meet the actual need at least one separate school in each district should be established soon. Vocational training schools should also be founded for them to ensure their equal right to enter the job market.
The disabled children of Bangladesh have to face myriad types of problem. We failed to enact comprehensive rules and regulation to ensure their rights and opportunities. There are several private organizations to help the disabled children but they are dependent on foreign aid. There is no separate data indicating the percentage of literacy among the disable children. So, we don't know what is the actual situation in this field. The private sectors should come forwarded to ameliorate the conditions of the disabled children. The rich people can also contribute for their overall development. There should be coordinated developed program concerning the betterment of the disabled children.
In Bangladesh, National Education Policy 2010 has also given importance on more and more training for the teachers for increasing the skill to handle the child with special need. The Bangladesh government reserves 1% quota for the disabled and autistic people in all first and second class jobs, including BCS, and 10% in class three and class four jobs for the disabled and orphans, and the their age-limit for entering the services has been extended up to 40 years. But if the children do not get at least a congenial environment for their primary education then keeping quota for their job will be of no value. So it is rather a moral obligation of the society, more so of the government, to ensure primary education for children with disabilities.

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