‘Don’t deny disabled learners education’
Share this article:
Cape Town – Learners with disabilities should not be denied an education, the department of higher education and training said on Monday.
Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Mduduzi Manana told learners at Vukuzenzele Special School for learners with disabilities about post school education and training (PSET) opportunities that are available to them after they complete their studies.
The number of students with disabilities in the country is estimated to be less than one percent of the total student population in the PSET sector, Manana grimly said.
Speaking to the learners, he said: “No-one should deny you the opportunity to study on the grounds that you have a disability.”
Manana acknowledged that learners with disabilities who live in rural settings are in need of access to information that is “affirming and capable of imparting a ‘can do’ attitude in a society where the norm is to shield a learner with a disability and consider the ‘disability grant’ provision as the ultimate shield for such learners”.
The department, he said, would like to “mainstream issues of persons with disabilities in the PSET sector” as many students with disabilities continue to be marginalised and discriminated against, especially in the skills and training pool after leaving school.
Manana said the department’s “persons with disabilities programme” has been designed to “expose career opportunities with the PSET sector to learners with disabilities and further share funding opportunities”.
Learners at the school were exposed to opportunities available within the Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA), the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), Ingwe TVET College, Buffalo City TVET College, and Walter Sisulu University among many others.
The Principal of Vukuzenzele Special School, Ms Bandezi said: “Our learners will certainly take advantage of the opportunities shared by the Department of Higher Education and Training and its institutions.”
Manana pointed out how the department, through the NSFAS, “has dedicated funds” which target learners who would like to pursue their studies within the PSET sector.
Disability funding, he explained, “exists to enable reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities and for procuring special equipment, devices and technology”.
“The issues of access and institutional practices that have failed to consider the learning needs of persons with disabilities and their support needs thereof, continue to be a barrier to this sector,” said Manana.