Am delighted to bring to you a reflection on a need to increase investment in inclusive education in Tanzania. There are two reasons why I consider this reflection to be of an importance for us all as CSOs and as a nation at large. The first reason is, the cost of exclusion is great for individuals, their families and the country henceforth a collective action is imminent. The second reason is; there are about 32 million children with disabilities in low and middle income countries who are out of school and denied education. This number continues to grow each day, each hour putting children with disabilities at even more greater risk. Disappointingly, those children with disabilities who do make it to school are mainly in segregated settings, and indeed receiving poor quality education which increasingly leaving them shut out from the mainstream community and inhibit their aspirations to pursue a decent livelihood. The impact of neglecting children with disabilities is far greater slicing through en-tire society fabrics.
TEN/MET is committed to ensuring and fostering disability inclusive education in Tanzania is realized and it is within our core agenda. Our commitment is to build capacity of our members in addressing various issues that affect and inhibit children with disabilities to attain their education ambition and aspiration. TEN/MET recognizes that it cannot do this alone; rather a collective effort is key. Thus, we call upon all development partners, the government of Tanzania, CSOs, families and com-munities to step action and increase investment in education financing with emphasis on disability. On 2nd and 3rd May 2019, TEN/MET shall be attending 11th Bunge session in Dodoma where education budget shall be tabled. It‘s so important for all members who shall be at-tending this session to position themselves to reflect on education financing and analyze various key elements of the 2019/2020 budget.
There are various actions we can do to promote disability inclusive education in Tanzania as CSOs. Some of which include; building internal capacity on inclusive education among education staff where we operate. Develop a disability policy and action plan with indicators in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of persons with disabilities (UNCRPD). Regularly produce and review data on education funding, disaggregated by levels of education, disability and equity indicators. Invest in building the capacity of Disabled People‘s Organizations (DPOs), parent organizations and civil society organizations working in disability inclusive education to hold governments accountable and participate meaningfully in education sector planning process.
On the other end, it is high time that the Government of Tanzania allocate at least 6% of GDP of national budgets to education. It also needs to strategize and prioritize in early childhood development for children with disabilities, including developing professional skills and community based approaches to early intervention. This must include strengthening early detection and intervention services to eliminate or reduce the disabling effects of impairment. We also call upon the government through its structures to invest in improving data and evidence on inclusive education. Furthermore, the government should use tested strategies and put in place social protection mechanisms to address the multiple disadvantage faced by children with disabilities who, for ex-ample, are girls, orphans, come from pastoralists and / or live in remote rural regions or slums / informal settlements.
TEN/MET also calls upon development partners to step up to the challenge and technically and financially support all initiatives aimed at fostering inclusive education for children with disabilities. Work with the government of Tanzania to assess how education programmes and funding given by the development partners address disability inclusiveness. DPs should Increase financial contribution to the national education sec-tor plan with emphasis on inclusive education. With collective efforts we are geared towards making disability responsiveness in education the center stage of our focus. As partners in education we must ensure inclusive and equitable quality education is granted to all- leaving no one behind.
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