The Coordinator of the committee for Inclusive Learning of The Disabled in Rwandan Universities, Dr. Evariste Karangwa, has called upon the government to put in more efforts in providing education to disadvantaged youth.
Dr Karangwa expressed his concerns over the small number of people with disabilities accessing university education. He argued that not until last year, learners with visual and hearing challenges had never accessed higher education.
“Education for people with disabilities has always been a concern of all those with a role in education and policy makers in curriculum planning, little has been practically done,” Karangwa said.
He attributed the neglect to the traditional setting where people with disabilities are regarded as unable to achieve anything in life.
“In the local language, people with the hearing and sight incapabilities are referred to as ‘ibirema’ this is denying them of their right as people. It’s a simple example of how the disadvantaged are disrespected and often referred to as objects,” he explained.
Karangwa listed 15 groups of educationally vulnerable learners who need special learning equipment.
“Most of the mute have their own language, and it’s not taught in Rwanda. Many mute girls have been victimized but they are unable to communicate,” says Karangwa.
He explained that the initiative falls short of minimum requirements to respond adequately to the overwhelming educational needs for the vulnerable in Rwanda. He added education is the only way to transform the marginalized into skilled humans irrespective of their differences and inabilities.
“A big number of disabled children are not able to access primary education. They are segregated yet there are very few special schools for them,” said Jean Twagirimana, the Chairman of the Committee of the disabled at Kigali Institute of Education.
He regarded this crucial and a reason as to why many blind Rwandans are street beggars who are unable to achieve anything by themselves.
According to The Ministry of Education, more that 10 percent of the youth have disabilities.