International Labour Organisation (ILO) Representative Mwenya Kapasa commended MoHE for a number of achievements recorded over the years in education activities of Persons With Disabilities.
Kapasa disclosed ILO – MOHE collaborations are a clear indication that the support of skills development and innovation remain key in National Development.
Kapasa told the meeting that ILO is supporting Persons With Disabilities on joint projects and other programs supported by UNICEF, World Food Programme, and the Government of Sweden.
Kapasa said according to a report and survey 10.9 percent translating to two million gaps exist with PWDs in the health, social, and education sectors. Mwenya, however, noted that the Government of Zambia has responded to this cause and formulated the Disability Policy that outlines efforts made.
She added that ILO is supporting PWDs in actualizing a robust framework that provides a practical outline of Information management system, child inclusive disability programmes, access to education, and mentorship in the labour market. She further indicated that through SDF, support was required to enhance Persons With Disabilities education activities.
And Higher Education Permanent Secretary Kayula Siame said the Ministry was grateful to the International Labour Organisation for the support rendered to Person’s With Disabilities education activities.
Mrs. Siame disclosed that the Ministry has a deliberate policy to increase access to everyone inclusive Persons With Disabilities hence providing 10 percent Bursary so that the PWDs equally have access and quality education.
“MoHE has a deliberate policy of inclusiveness through provision of ten percent on Bursary to PWDs”. PS Siame said.
Mrs. Siame said the meeting was therefore important providing an opportunity to adequately review the policy so as to mainstream and re-look at aspects of all-inclusiveness, she encouraged the meeting to create and reinforce a monitoring and evaluation mechanism and reinforce inclusiveness of gender related issues of the Persons With Disabilities.
PS Siame further called on MoHE – ILO officials and the stakeholders to take an Integrated approach of inclusiveness during the review on various PWDs with reference to the visually impaired, deaf, and physically challenged among others in order to facilitate an effective – education access linkage to for PWDs into Institutions.
Mrs. Siame explained that the Ministry also provided support by providing training to eighty PWDs, at Ndola Vocational Rehabilitation Centre (NVRC) in various skills training, she believed that with the strong collaboration between MoHE and ILO key milestones in addressing issues of PWDs shall be arrived at.
During the meeting PS Siame stressed a point to address PWDs challenges on access and efficacy elements in the policy, she commended ILO for coming on board on such engagements giving hope to Persons With Disabilities to have livelyhoods and equally instilling confidence in an employer through result – oriented integrated training programs that she be devised and implemented.
And through a presentation Assistant Director Skills Development in the Ministry of Higher Education Precious Lisulo Munaile said the meeting was key to discuss Statutory Instruments on Persons With Disabilities that the Ministry of Higher Education had over the years engaged on with TEVET Institutions so as to create linkages to industry.
She said the TEVET National Policy of 1996 mainly spoke to able bodied persons, however, the Ministry and other line Ministries hence came up with a Disability Policy on PWDs training in view of some identified gaps.
Mrs. Munaile said based on the 1996 policy the Ministry received support in view of then the developed action plan that resulted onto identifying Institutions to engage PWDs in some TEVET Institutions that included Lusaka and Luanshya Trades Training Institute, in addition the Technical Vocational and Teachers College among others.
Assistant Director Munaile indicated that currently every TEVET Institution mainstreamed training activities to include PWDs.
Mrs. Munaile explained that ILO also supported the Ministry through cooperation on a robust Irish Aid framework to equally promote PWDs, she said the Ministry then further engaged a focal office that facilitated to actualize issues with the PWDs in institutions under a project.
She said among other projects the Ministry supported a project with women in micro economy activities.
Mrs. Munaile added that the Ministry also engaged mentally retarded and slow learners in hospitality training skills and industrial internships through an established canteen within TEVETA office premises.
In her presentation, Mrs Munaile also informed the meeting that the Ministry’s main achievements are the ratification of Persons With Disabilities to be recognized and engaged in skills and higher education training of inclusiveness.
She further said currently construction of the MOHE training infrastructure ensures architectural facilities in place to accommodate persons with disabilities.
Mrs. Munaile said over the years the Technical Vocational Teachers College (TVTC) offer a Teacher training Diploma program in Special Education supporting PWDs, and under university education UNZA provides for a special training facility equally supporting PWDs.
And in his closing remarks, representing PS, Director Vocational Education and Training Alex Simumba thanked participants for great efforts and contributions made during the meeting.
He called on the meeting and organisers to extend an invitation to PWDs’ representative in the next meeting in order to allow a complete voice and employ impartiality to deliberate matters successfully.
Chanda Muwowo – Public Relations Officer MOHE