A pupil at a Budibugyo-based primary school being wheeled by a classmate during breaktime. Ideally this pupile would have been segregated to study from a school for the physically handicapped. Credit Wambi Michael/URN
policy and inadequate financing have been identified as some of the hindrances
to inclusive education in the country. The two, coupled with the lack of assistive
devices have excluded many children with different forms of disabilities out of
school and therefore denied them access to education.
While inclusive education has been found effective in building inclusive and
equitable societies, educationists and experts in disabilities say in Uganda it
remains a far dream.
The concern came at a meeting hosted by the Chevening Alumni Association of
Uganda under the theme” Inclusive Education for persons with disabilities in
Uganda; Policy, Practice, and possibilities”
The Chevening Association of Uganda whose members were recipients of the UK
government’s Chevening scholarship has identified the need to implement
inclusive education to enable learners with disabilities to access equitable
Inclusive Education is intended to allow learners with disabilities to study
and mingle with other students within a similar education system. While the
education ministry has adopted inclusive education as part of the curriculum,
it is yet to fully roll it out as required.
The Ministry of Education is mandated to offer education as a basic human right
for everyone including children with disabilities. Furthermore, the right to
education is also required under the National Development Plan III and the UN
Sustainable Development Goals SDGS).
According to the World Bank, in Uganda approximately 16% of children have disabilities,
but of those children, only 5% have access to education through inclusive
learning and 10% through special school.
Lillian Namukasa, a Program Officer at the National Council for Disability says
while Inclusive learning is preferred because it facilitates social interaction
and awareness-raising among learners, schools have not been facilitated to
enable it to work.
“We need adoptive technologies we need assistive devices. And all these require
funding but the funding is our major challenge.” said Namukasa.
“We only have five percent of…
Out....It could be beautiful.//
While it is estimated that about 2.5 million children in Uganda live with
some form of disability, Namukasa says less than two hundred and fifty thousand
of them are accessing some form of education.
Some of the
disabilities identified among learners in Uganda include multiple sclerosis,
epilepsy, down syndrome, autism, dyslexia, processing disorders, bi-polar,
oppositional defiance disorder, blind, visually impaired dystrophy, and
According to the National Council for Disability, all those forms of disability
have unique requirements yet the majority of schools cannot meet them because
of a lack of funding priorities and budget cuts.
She says in 2020/2021, the financing of special needs education only
amounted to only 0.1% of the education sector budget.
“And this was at the time when we were in COVID lockdown a lot of money was needed
to facilitate a learner with disabilities to learn. Children were learning
online. We needed adaptive technology which is expensive” She noted.
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The Programme Officer under the Inclusive Education project at the National
Union Of Persons With Disabilities(NUDIPU), Luyima Ronald said that Uganda has
made commitments to inclusive education. Little is implemented when the Ministers
2018, the same commitments which are coming in this summit were said. It was
only that they were different ministers but they were the same commitments”
“We went to London recently and made the same commitments while other
African countries are working within their meager resources. We are adding
more commitments but we have not implemented the previous ones.
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went to tell you....
and multiplier effect. //
is also living with visual impairment disability says while there are some learners
with disability at primary schools, the number of those that cross to secondary
is less than 2% of the Children with disability.
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shown that visually impaired students comprise the largest share of these
students, followed by those with physical disabilities, and learners with autism
and multiple handicaps are fewer.
Kiboli, the Special Needs and Inclusive Education commissioner at the Ministry
of Education acknowledged the fact that there had been some delays in passing
the policy on inclusive education in Uganda.
for us to have a national inclusive education policy has been because of the
resources to work on it, funding and we have also been carrying out
consultations. And it is something you will do in one week or one month,” she
according to Kiboli is required to provide regulatory direction on inclusion to
many things that exclude learners in schools have been listed down, challenges
at enrollment, we have listed a number of things at participation because not
everyone who is in school is learning” she explained