The Child Rights Convention (CRC) explains how governments and international organizations have to work to ensure children are protected in their rights. Sri Lanka signed the CRC in 1990 and ratified it in 1991.The guiding principles of the Convention include non-discrimination; adherence to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and the right to participate. They represent the underlying requirements for any and all rights to be realized.
Article 23: The State recognizes “… the right of the disabled child to special care” and the right to “enjoy a full and decent life in conditions which ensure dignity” .
Article 6: Every child has the inherent right to life … survival and development.
So, where do we stand in the line of CRC commitments as a country? Where do we position the children with special needs in the Education context?
One of the most critical issues facing by the disabled children is access to education and opportunities in education for disabled children are really inadequate.
“It is commendable that every province has schools which provide Inclusive Education. However, for a programme that began almost 40 years back and considering that the 25,000 or so children represent children with several types of disabilities, physical, sight, hearing and intellectual, this enrolment is low. So far no proper research or study has been conducted on how successful the Inclusive Education programme has been or the competence and effectiveness of specially trained teachers and the assistance they receive from authorities. Social stigma is another factor that hinders the disabled persons integrating into mainstream society and enjoying their citizen’s rights. A considerable amount of groundwork is still to be done in this area in order to stamp out negative attitudes, social stigma and prejudice. ”
-Quoted from ‘Integrate the disabled into the mainstream of society’ Chandrarathne, Ranga- http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2008/02/10/imp02.asp
Director of Special Education, Ministry of Education, H. P. N. Lakshman, came up with this issue addressing a ‘seminar on special education needs of children’.
Special attention for disabled children
By Harsihini PERERA
Children with special needs should be treated equally in schools as there were a percentage of children in Sri Lanka in this category.
Among these 20 per cent of the children were in the special need category while two per cent were in the severe need category. Some children needed to improve their hearing and needed attention but principals of schools had a prejudice in admitting them, Director of Special Education, Ministry of Education, H. P. N. Lakshman said.
He was addressing a ‘seminar on special education needs of children’ organised in collaboration with Wickramarachchi Opticians for 200 teachers and trainees of special education on Friday at Nugegoda.
He said detection and treatment of special needs among schoolchildren are necessary to ensure unimpaired education for them and modules had to be made for them in the system of education.