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Prince Mired: 79% of Children with Disabilities are Not Enrolled in Schools

2018-03-23

HRH Prince Mired bin Ra'ad bin Zeid, President of the Higher Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, warned of the low rates of children with disabilities enrolled in educational programs, which he said “do not exceed 21% of their total number at school age.”

 

This came during the signing of two memorandums of understanding between the Council and the Ministry of Education to include children with disabilities in public schools.

 

He said that the figures of the Department of Statistics for 2015 indicate that 79% of the total number of children with disabilities are not enrolled in any educational program at all.

 

He added that this number “is a concerning indicator that should be dealt with very seriously, because 21% means that the proportion of those enrolled in inclusive, public educational institutions is very small and very modest, especially given poor accessibility and the scarcity of facilitative arrangements and educational aids for persons with disabilities in the education facility, in general.”

 

He pointed out that the rate of disability in Jordan is 11% for individuals over the age of five, according to the figures from the Department of Statistics for 2015 while estimates of the World Health Organization and the World Bank point out that the rate of disability is not less than 15% of the total population in most countries of the world.

 

He stressed that education is the cornerstone for the enjoyment and exercise of the other rights in the optimal manner as prescribed by the Constitution and the law.

 

The memorandum of understanding is the realization of a dream that has been haunting us for years, namely, that each party should assume its responsibilities towards persons with disabilities on an equal footing with all citizens. The Constitution and different legislation have guaranteed them the right to education without any form of discrimination or exclusion on the basis of or due to a disability.

 

The first memorandum of understanding aims at providing environmental facilities and facilitative arrangements for the inclusion of students with disabilities into government schools.

 

The second memorandum of understanding aims to transfer files of direct cash support and purchase of services to individuals enrolled in educational centers and institutions from the responsibility of the Council to the Ministry. These institutions are licensed by the Ministry of Education, and the move will be under conditions and controls that ensure the continuity of these services within an organized and a developed framework.

 

Minister of Education, Dr. Omar Al-Razzaz, said that the Ministry is working by the goal of “Access and Justice.” This means access of students to education and the justice of the educational system by providing a real opportunity for these students. These opportunities align with their mental and physical abilities and are commensurate with their tendencies and desires as they are also talent-building.

 

“We can not claim that we are close to this goal if the category of people with special needs included in our schools is still low,” he said.

 

He added, “We recognize that children with special needs have intellectual and physical capabilities we have to discover. We should help them to create and give what they have to build this nation.” He pointed out that the ideal model is not to expel students except in specific cases. “Our goal is to integrate students into society to be effective and productive; therefore, we will start with three inclusive schools in the north, center and south.