Equal Right, Equal Opportunity: Education and Disability
Hue City, 6th May 2014: An estimated one billion people live with a disability, comprising approximately 15% of the global population. It is estimated that 93 million of these are children. People with disabilities have an equal right to education, yet millions of children with disabilities in the world have not enjoyed that right.
In most low- and middle-income countries, children with disabilities are more likely to be out of school than any other group of children. Even if they do attend school, children living with disabilities are often more likely to drop out and leave school early. In some countries, having a disability can more than double the chance of a child not being in school, compared to their non-disabled peers.
Yet education is even more crucial to people with disabilities. It is their gateway to fully develop their abilities and potential so as to enjoy dignity and self-worth as well as being recognized as being able to make a contribution to society. This right must be ensured without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity through an inclusive, friendly and relevant education system at all levels that offers lifelong learning.
Global Action Week on Education For All in Vietnam is held in Hue, located in Thua Thien-Hue Province with the message: Education and Disability: Equal right, equal opportunity.
Viet Nam's commitments
In Viet Nam, there are 6.7 million people with disabilities with over 1.3 million children with disabilities of school age are in the education system.
Viet Nam is currently in the process of ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) after its signing in 2006. Inclusive education is the key mechanism to deliver the right to education for all. Viet Nam has a legal framework supporting inclusive education for children with disabilities over the last decades. The Law for Persons with Disabilities was promulgated by the National Assembly in June, 2010, followed by Decree 28/2012/NĐ-CP on 10/4/2012 by the Government providing detailed regulations and guidelines to implement particular articles of the Law for Persons with Disabilities. Two important Circulars were issued by Ministries: the Inter-ministerial circular No 58/2012/TTLT-BGDĐT-BLĐTBXH on 31/12/2012 regulating conditions and procedures for establishing, operating, reorganizing, and dismantling the Supporting Centre for Developing Inclusive Education; and the Inter-ministerial Circular No. 42/2013/TTLT-BGDĐT-BLĐTBXH-BTC on 28/12/2013 regulating policies on education for persons with disabilities.
These documents provide a legal basis to enhance programmes and policies supporting people with disabilities in achieving equitable access to learning opportunities at all levels and to provide incentives to teachers and administrators involved in caring for and educating children with disabilities.
The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has also issued documents regulating early intervention, inclusive education and education for children with disabilities. Annual documents guiding the implementation of yearly school missions at all levels specify issues of education for people with disabilities in the national education system, giving priorities to learners with disabilities in higher education recruitment.
In addition, ministries and departments have issued policies on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for people with disabilities, stipulating that there are to be no barriers for people with disabilities in new and public buildings.
However, there are still gaps in implementing these policies at the national and sub-national levels. Learners with disabilities still face challenges due to the lack of trained teachers and administrators, difficulties in accessing school buildings due to inflexible arrangement, inaccessibility to public spaces, and lack of facilities, teaching aids, and materials on sign language for the people with hearing impairment.
Therefore, measures that need to be implemented include further mobilizing children with disabilities to school, improving the quality of inclusive education, and enhancing and innovating content and methodologies in the training of teachers. At the same time, it is imperative to enhance coordination between departments, sectors, organizations, communities, and families in educating children with disabilities.
Week of Action
This year in Viet Nam the Global Action Week campaign will be led by the Ministry of Education and Training and its partners under the slogan "Persons with disabilities have the right to a quality, friendly and equal education".
The campaign aims to enhance the implementation of policies, programmes, and measures to ensure a quality inclusive education, enabling people with disabilities to overcome barriers to their access to education and to realize their right to education.
As Viet Nam is undergoing a radical and comprehensive renovation of its education system in order to build a learning society, education should be more inclusive to enable people with disabilities to lead a dignified and fulfilling life with the fullest development of their competences, creativity, and talents to make greater contributions to society.
About Global Action Week
Global Action Week is a worldwide annual campaign of the Global Campaign for Education, a coalition of NGOs and teachers' unions, to raise awareness of the importance of Education for All. It aims to mobilize political and financial support from the whole society for the achievement of Education for All goals.
The Ministry of Education and Training, with active support from NGOs and UN organizations (ILO, UNESCO, UNICEF, and UNDP) has organized thematic Global Action Week activities every year.
For more information about Global Action Week, please visit the Global Campaign for Education's Website at www.campaignforeducation.org/en/campaigns/global-action-week
- Mr. Nguyen Duc Huu, Deputy Director, Department Primary Education cum Vice Chairman of MOET's Committee on Education for Children with Disabilities and Disadvantages, Ministry of Education and Training, Email:hndhuu(at)moet.edu.vn, Tel/Fax: 0913579088
- Ms. Nguyen Thi Kieu Trang, Media Coordinator, ChildFund Office in Viet Nam, Email: trangnk(at)childfund.org.vn. Phone: (844) 3944 6449, Fax: (844) 39446 453, Mobile: 0904 879 991
- Ms. Tran Thi Thanh Tam, Education Programme Officer, UNESCO Viet Nam, Email: tt.tam(at)unesco.org , Tel.: +84 (4) 37 47 02 75/23. Fax: +84 (4) 37 47 02 74, Mobile: 01236491768
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