Mmegi Online :: System impoverishes learners with disabilities
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Last Updated
Thursday 18 October 2018, 18:40 pm.
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System impoverishes learners with disabilities

The study that was recently conducted by the University of Botswana (UB) lecturer Dr Boitumelo Mangope is accusing the Botswana education system of impoverishing learners with intellectual disabilities.
By Pini Bothoko Tue 14 Feb 2017, 16:08 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: System impoverishes learners with disabilities








Mangope’s study was titled, ‘Inclusion or exclusion: Education of learners with intellectual disabilities in Botswana primary schools’. Presenting her findings during stakeholders’ engagement workshop on the importance of research in education that was held Gaborone Senior Secondary School, Mangope challenged the Ministry of Basic Education (MoBE) on inclusion of learners with intellectual disabilities.

The stakeholder’s engagement workshop was held under the theme, ‘Delivering education through research: A must for the post 2015 agenda’.

Mangope said inclusion is the process of educating all children together in the regular education classrooms and providing the necessary support services within those settings.

She said that the education system is employing an ad-hoc arrangement for inclusion of learners with disabilities because learners with various types of disabilities are educated in different settings.

She stated that Botswana has adopted the special units model, as an interim to include learners with intellectual disabilities in the regular classrooms but it is not enough as their numbers are still low.

“Despite a seemingly remarkable progress on inclusion education at policy level, learners with disabilities remain excluded in primary schools in Botswana. This is serious concern that needs immediate attention,” Mangope said.

Mangope stated that inclusion calls for the reduction and or eradication of any

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existing structures, which may hinder the full participation of all learners in the schools.

She said through inclusion they expect a decrease in the number of special units in Botswana but on the contrary, the special unit programmes are on the increase, as per the information she got from the Department of Special Support Services (DSSS) under the MoBE.

“For example, in 1993 there were 19 units, the numbers increased to 29 in 2000. In 2012 there were 35 special classes/units. Can we say this is inclusion or exclusion,” Mangope said.

She condemned the location of the units, which are usually situated at the back of the school something that denies such learners to interact with normal students.

“This is pure discrimination because even learners are afraid of their peers in normal classes, they cannot play with them or do group discussions with them because they are always isolated at the back of the school,” Mangope said.

One of her findings is that leaners with disabilities grow old in special units something that leads to most of them not finishing their studies, whilst others struggle to socialise with their colleagues at work because they do not know anything about team work.

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