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Thursday, 26 June 2014 08:41

Children with disabilities have transitional problems from CBCC to primary school

Written by  Kondwani Chitosi

June 25, 2014, Mana: Lilongwe Early Childhood Development (ECD) Network  has said children with disabilities are facing transitional problems from Community Based Child Care Centres (CBCC) to primary Schools.

First to make the observation during the network's quarterly review meeting was Rose Munthali, Project Officer for World Alive, a member of Lilongwe ECD working in Traditional Authority Chadza and Chiseka who said children as old as 10 years with disabilities are still in CBCC due to shortage of special needs primary schools.

“CBCCs provide an opportunity to children with disabilities to get education however these children face transitional problems to primary school as most schools do not have special needs teachers,” said Munthali.

Munthali gave an example of a seven year old boy with visual impairment and a ten year old girl with learning disabilities who are still attending CBCC in TA Chadza despite being old enough for primary school as the area does not have special needs teachers who can handle them.

“Most of these children are intelligent but they are held back due to the shortage of special needs teachers. For instance, the ten year old girl started standard one at Chiwiri Primary School but withdrew back to CBCC as teachers at the primary school did not have the capacity to teach her,” said Munthali.

Senior Kindergarten Educator for SOS Children Village Beatrice Malizani speaking during the same meeting concurred with Munthali saying there is a need to increase the capacity for schools on special needs education.

“It is very important to build the capacity of our education system to ensure that children with special needs are not left out. SOS has the skills to train primary and nursery school teachers on how to identify special needs at ECD level and on special arrangement we can impart this knowledge to others,” said Malizani.

Desk Officer for Lilongwe Rural West District Educational Office Lucien Chikadza commenting on the issue during the meeting said though there is a shortage of special needs teachers in primary schools, but government has mechanisms that allow children with disabilities to further their education.

“We have mechanisms that allow children with special needs to further their education. For instance Lilongwe has Malingunde Special Needs School which has boarding facilities to cater for special needs children.

Once cases as the ones mentioned here are brought to light, arrangements are made to enroll the child at such education facilities,” said Chikadza.


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