About 500,000 disabled children are being denied place in the South African education system, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) says in a report. But the government has denied this, saying the report “trivialised” efforts to help the affected children.
“It is almost as if there is an attempt to sensationalise the very real and very serious challenges faced by learners with special needs,” the country’s department of Basic Education, stated.
The report presents a grotesque discriminatory practis, which denies the disabled children a place in the allocation of school places. It also say they are excluded from mainstream schools and forced to wait years for places at special schools.
“The job is not done until all children count just the same in the education system,” said Elin Martinez, a children’s rights researcher and author of the report.
The rights group said disabled children are poorly treated in classrooms because teachers are ill-trained and don’t understand the affected children. The report cited physical violence and neglect in schools as other form of abuse against children with disabilities in South Africa.
The 94-page report cited an instance in which a disabled child was stopped from school enrolment because of his illness.