While education is seen as Human Rights for most South African youth, unfortunately young people with disabilities are treated like step children when it comes to benefiting from this societal need.

Educational and Disability activists gathered and pledged solidarity and shaped the Indaba for Inclusive education, recently organized by the Eastern Cape department of education in partnership with Eastern Cape Disability Economic Empowerment Trust which was held in Regent in March.

The purpose of the Indaba was to commit to the Vision 2030 of providing quality education to all children and ensure that every learner in the province has access to quality Education that encourages them to be productive citizens.

This has not been the case for more than 500 000 learners with disability who have been excluded from the education system that, number only speaks to the document youth or those that are on government’s statistics.

Disabled learner exclusion is the least of the department’s careless mistakes when it comes to the disabled learners concerns, lack of infrastructure is one of the factors that need special mention and attention according to the activist that were in the room.

While many treats Indabas as past times, this is one was a special kind that had an adamant mandate that all educational stakeholders should commit in truly transforming the education sector and make it their mandate to provide proper and healthy space for children and youth with disabilities.

Amongst issues that were of peculiar focus was the popular and societal attitude and behavior non-disabled   people have towards people with disability that “they should be treated with sympathy”, that was totally called out from this Indaba.

Another thing that was emphasized from the robust engagement was non commitment and failure from government to provide schools with personnel that are trained on disability issues and needs, to make learning and teaching an interactive and healthy space.

From the Indaba it was emphasized that we need to have intergovernmental relations amongst government departments that are already working with people with disability like Health, education and Social department as they all feed on each other.

These departments need to have budget in order to sensitize the community about disability issues specifically education.

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