General & Misc

Education Bill weak on needs of Disabled People, says Group

Date: 16 May 2018; Type: Industry Updates; Source: Myanmar Times

The Myanmar Federation of Persons with Disabilities criticised the basic education bill as having failed to consider the needs of disabled students and seeks a dialogue with Hluttaw committees next month to address its defects.

“The bill has left aside important points on inclusive education, thus we plan to meet in Hluttaw and will discuss discrimination in the law,” said Daw Aye Thinzar Maung, chair of the education committee of the federation, on Monday.

The federation will focus not only on key points that need to be included in the bill but also to allocate a separate budget for education of  children with disabilities.

Inclusiveness is lacking in the National Education Law 2014, and the 2015 amendments only mention general concepts about inclusive education. “We hope more details would be included in the new law,” said U Tha Uke, managing director of the Eden Center for Disabled Children.

“The basic education bill does not meet our expectations,” he said. “The bill does not guarantee full opportunities for children with disabilities.”

“The law must complete the original law and include more details. So, I question why those who drafted the new bill did not prioritise inclusiveness,” said U Ye Win, general secretary of the education committee of the federation.

According to the 2014 census, of Myanmar’s 51.4 million people, 2.3 million live with disabilities, which amounts to nearly 4.6 percent of the population.

A 2010 Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement report said 53 percent of people with disabilities do not have access to education and just two percent hold bachelor degrees.

“The data are pointing out to the fact that person with disabilities have a hard time to access education because the laws and policies are not strong enough to protect children with disabilities’ rights,’’ he said.

Children with disabilities are being discriminated at schools and some are denied enrollment in schools. According to data on complain from the federation from 2016 to 2018 about 50 cases of education denial have been registered.

The government enacted the Rights of Persons with Disabilities law in 2015. It also already ratified the UN Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities in December 2011 and signed the 2030 agenda for the sustainable development goals (SDG).

“If the ministry wants to implement inclusive education, it must offer awareness training to teachers and head of schools. Though the government has signed international agreements like SDG and Education for All, it is not enough only to sign on paper, teachers must be trained and awarded,” U Ye Win added.

The Basic Education Law is drafted by Basic Education Department officials who had retired from the education field after adopting the amended law. Education experts suggested that the drafting of the basic education bill did not involved teachers, which are also not included in the basic education council to implement the law, and remained too centralised.

After discussing about the basic education bill, the federation will discuss other education laws such as the higher education law, private education law and technical, vocational education and training law with the Hluttaw’s committees within this year, according to the federation.

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