The right of persons with disabilities to education is guaranteed by the Persons with Disabilities Act No. 06 of 2012. Particularly Part V, Division 1 of the Persons with Disabilities Act has interpreted rights of persons with disabilities to access inclusive quality education at all levels. In addition, the Government of the Republic of Zambia has the obligation through the Ministries responsible with education to provide the support required to facilitate the effective education of persons with disabilities, including providing reasonable accommodation, adapted equipment and individualized support measures as well as employing teachers who are qualified and trained to teach persons with disabilities within regular schools.
Though the Ministries responsible for education provide education to persons with disabilities the Agency has come to note that a large population of persons with disabilities has no access to education. Many fail to continue secondary education and tertiary education due lack of financial resources which results in persons with disabilities with disabilities failing to access quality employment on equal basis with others. The other thing is the ministries responsible with education have slowed in implementing the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act No.06 of 2012 and the United Nations on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). This has compelled the Agency to initiate a fund to supplement efforts of the Ministry of General Education and the Ministry of High of Education, the church, FBOs, DPOs, NGOs, international agencies and others in promoting education for persons with disabilities.
2.0 Definition of Education Support Fund.
The Education Support Fund for Students with Disabilities covers persons with disabilities pursuing primary education, secondary education and undergraduate qualifications in Zambia. Secondly, eligible students pursuing full-time undergraduate courses in private institutions recognized by the Government can also be considered. Thirdly, for those pursuing primary course the Agency provide support to students admitted at boarding only.
3.0 What are the Objectives of ZAPD Education Support?
- To provides supplementary education support to eligible persons with disabilities from primary to tertiary level to help them meet educational requirements through provision learning materials, uniforms, and financial assistance
- To help persons with disabilities develop their human potential to the full and sense of dignity and strengthening of human rights, enhance their independence and enable them to become well-adjusted individuals in the community.
- To ensure that persons with disabilities develop their personality, talents and creativity, as well as their mental and physical abilities, to their fullest potential;
- To enable persons with disabilities to participate effectively in a free society.
- To ensure persons with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability, and that children with disabilities are not excluded from free and compulsory primary education, or from secondary education, on the basis of disability.
- To ensure persons with disabilities can access an inclusive, quality primary education and secondary education on an equal basis with others in the communities in which they live.
- Ensure all learning institutions provide reasonable accommodation of the individual’s requirements to persons with disabilities
- Advocate for professional development of teachers.
- Disability inclusiveness: Develop friendships, relationships and mutual respect between all learners, and between learners and teachers in the school.
- Participation: Active involvement of persons with disabilities and the community participation in identifying the most vulnerable persons with disabilities in need of education. This is because communities know all the people and their true situation better than an outsider.
- Transparency: The programme values openness, communication, and accountability. Decision making must be based on criteria that are widely known and understood .
- Partnership :ZAPD must work in partnership with existing local initiatives committees and projects and not try to start new programmes where effective community organisation already exists
- Value for money: Communities look after the destitute in their midst. ZAPD is helping to supplement this effort.
- Equality and non-discrimination: Ensure provision of quality to persons with disabilities in an accessible format at all levels .
Access to quality inclusive education on an equal basis with others for self sustenance and national development.
Partners at all levels are needed to assist in implementing the education support programme. Amongst partners the Agency work with in promoting rights of persons with disabilities to education include ministry of Community Development and Social Services, Ministry of General Education, Ministry of Higher Education and Technology, Ministry of Health, local or international NGOs, churches CBOs, DPOs, FBOs, and Council.
7.0 ELIGIBILITY AND GUIDELINES FOR ACCESSING EDUCATION SUPPORT FROM ZAPD ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
To be eligible for education support an applicant must fulfill the following criteria:
- Zambia by birth or by decent;
- Must have a Green National Registration Card or birth certificate or any document to certify that s/he is a Zambian;
- Must have the following disabilities:
- Deaf/using sign language
- Deaf/able to talk normally
- Other (specify
- Must have a certificate of registration from Zambia Agency for Persons with disabilities.
- Attach a letter of admission from a recognized learning institution in Zambia;
- A person coming from the household certified to be incapacitated by the Department of Social Welfare under the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare.
- A person whose monthly income or income of parents / guardian is below K3,000.00
- Once a person has been considered for this support the shall continue to be supported until they are have completed their programme of study, however, every one year the students shall always be re-assed for consideration and further sponsorship as the indicators could change for the student or pupil
- Students and pupils with severe and profound disability with disability certificates issued by qualified/certified medical practitioner and they are vulnerable shall be given priority
- Only a maximum of two beneficiaries can be considered per household
- Only public educational facilities shall be considered for sponsorship
- Applicant who consistently fail a semester or grade or an academic year twice will have to pay for themselves the years that they are repeating a particular year
- When a client relocates to another province, there is no guarantee that the support will continue. A referral letter must be given explaining what kind of support the client was receiving from the previous province.
8.0 Those not eligible for education support an applicant must fulfill the following criteria
- a) A child of parents with disabilities
- An applicant who has failed to attach a letter of admission from a recognized learning institution in Zambia;
- A person coming from the household not certified to be incapacitated by the Department of Social Welfare under the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare;
- A person whose monthly income or income of parents / guardian is above K3,000.00
- A person with disability who is employed by the Government of the Republic of Zambia
- No person without disability or children born of parents with disabilities shall be considered for this educational support programme
9.0 Application Process
Administratively, the responsibility of the Education Support is given to the Department of Rehabilitation and Research. The Department of Rehabilitation and Research distributes application forms for Education Support Fund to Provincial Coordinators for onward transmission to the applicants, Department of Social Welfare and DPOs in their own catchment areas. The Department receive application from students through Provincial Coordinators which is the first point of contact for applicants in need the Education Support Fund. The Department of Rehabilitation and Research meets to assess applications and select applications which meet requirement of Education Support Funding. The Rehabilitation and Research Department submit applications to the Director General for authorisation. For those students seeking education support from primary and secondary schools responsibility to the process starts with the District Coordinators and ends with Provincial Coordinator. The Provincial Coordinator receives and approves application for those who qualify for education Support.
All applicants will receive a letter from Agency within two weeks of the meeting, informing them of the Agency decision in relation to their applications. The dates for starting applying for education support will be advertised on the print and electronic media, website, emails, text messages, notice boards, listserv and/or newsletter. Applications must be received after the deadlines will be not considered consideration.
10.0 Completing an Application Form
Individuals wishing to apply for Education Support Fund should follow the process shown below:
- Carefully read the guidelines and the application to understand the purpose, eligibility, criteria and overall process that needs to be followed.
- Request clarification or information from the Agency if there is anything that is unclear.
- Complete the relevant application form.
- Send the completed application form with all questions answered to the Agency by email, fax or post (if emailed, a signed copy must also be posted to agency). Receipt of the application will be acknowledged by the Department of Rehabilitation and Research.
10.1 Approved – If approved, the applicant must agree to the terms of the funding by signing a contract (the Funding Agreement). This will be enclosed with the letter notifying the applicant that they have been successful. Two copies of this need to be signed by the applicant and his/her witness and returned to the Department of Rehabilitation and Research. These will then be signed by the Director General and one copy returned to the applicant. The funds will be paid to learning institution which has admitted the applicant. A deposit slip will be given to the applicant or student with a view to present it to the college.
10.2 Approved in Principle – This means that the Agency has approved your application subject to a satisfactory response to its request for additional information and/or amendment to your application. Once this has been received a contract will be sent for signature and the process follows that in a) above. The applicant may not start enjoying education support until the contract has been signed and returned to Agency. Funding will be not used to support students who have been adopted for sponsorship by the Government Bursaries and Loan Committee or any other sponsors.
10.3 Declined – This means that the application has not been approved for funding and the letter from the Director General will include the reasons why it was declined. Depending on the reasons, it may be possible to re-apply at a later date. This will be specified in the letter.
10.4 Reporting Process
A report must be provided on each approved application to the Director General using the reporting form after the students have completed their education programmes and no later than 3 months after completing school.
10.5 Other Services
10.5.1 Support to those Students who are not going to be Awarded Education Support.
The Agency will lobby Government line ministries, spending agencies, NGOs and private companies that offer sponsorship to vulnerable students to include persons with on the categories of students they sponsor.
11.0 Assessment of Children with Disabilities in Schools.
The Agency will collaborate with the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, the Ministry of General Education, the Ministry of Health in identifying children with disability disabilities in need of education. This will be done by conducting disability screening in schools.
12.0 Early Childhood Development
Early childhood education is not widely available in most communities in Zambia, but its availability is increasing. Government has introduced early childhood education in regular schools. Early child education has a particular value for children with disabilities as it helps to develop social skills and gives them experience of being part of a group. Opportunities to take part in pre-school education are extremely limited for children with disabilities and need to be extensively expanded. The Agency will collaborate with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and NGOs in early detection, identification and access to early intervention services to infants and young children to prevent severe secondary disabling conditions which can affect both physical and intellectual ability. Without early intervention many children with disabilities will have a more limited capacity to benefit from early childhood development in communities they live. This activity will be conducted in schools, churches and community halls.
13.0 Formation of Disability Child Friend Corner Clubs
The Agency will facilitate formation of Child Friendly Corner Club in school to reduce sigma and discrimination in schools. This will help children with disabilities to acquire social skills from children without disabilities by imitating their peers without disabilities. The benefits of social interaction to both children with disabilities and without disabilities will as follows:
13.1 Children with disabilities
- Creation of friendships
- Increased social initiations, relationships and networks
- Learn new skills through imitation
- Peer role models for academic, social and behavior skills to equip them to live in their communities
- Increased achievement of IEP goals
- Greater access to general curriculum
- Enhanced skill acquisition and generalization
- Increased inclusion in future environments
- Greater opportunities for interactions
- Higher expectations
- Increased school staff collaboration
- Increased parent participation
- Access education in their communities instead going to special schools which are located hundreds of kilometers from their families.
13.2 Benefits of Inclusion for Students Without Disabilities
- Meaningful friendships
- Learn more realistic and accurate views about children with disabilities
- Develop positive attitudes towards those different from them.
- Increased appreciation and acceptance of individual differences
- Increased understanding and acceptance of diversity
- Respect for all people
- Prepares all students for adult life in an inclusive society
- Opportunities to master activities by practicing and teaching others
- Greater academic outcomes
- Learn from peers with disabilities despite challenges
- Both children with learning difficulties and those who benefit from inclusion
- All students’ needs are better met, greater resources for everyone
13.0 Formation of Parent to Parent Clubs
Parent to Parent Clubs are clubs formed by parent with disabilities and community members with interest in promoting rights of children to inclusive education. Active involvement of parents of children with disabilities and entire community in advocating for inclusive education is very important tool in promoting inclusive education. The Agency will facilitate formation of parent to parent clubs in schools to encourage participation of parents/guardians, families and the community in the management of schools. This will reduce stigma, prejudice, stereo types and negative social attitudes towards children with disabilities in communities they live. Formation of Parent to Parent Clubs will enable parents of children with disabilities to participate when the community is planning and designing, implementing and evaluation school projects.
14.0 Reasonable Accommodations
ZAPD will work to engage many communities to review the way school buildings, facilities and their classes are designed to remove physical obstacles that hinder persons with disabilities from enjoying their right to education. Adaptations include the creation or modernization of ramps, lifts, public facilities, sanitation, water points as well as the provision of appropriate academic service and special care. We are going to advocate in upgrading facilities to make them more accessible. This will result in having schools retrofitted with elevators, acoustic floors for dance, and relevant modern technologies such as large screens, Braille printers and special audio software. Another strategy use is to ensure that all learners with disabilities access (free) special textbooks and school supplies. The accommodations requested under this program must be directly related to meet the requirements of the degree program as regards both course work and must be appropriate to the special needs of the applicant. Some types of accommodations that might be facilitated will include, but are not limited to: specialized equipment, assistive devices, and personnel such as readers, interpreters, or assistants. The provision of reasonable accommodation is in accordance with the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act No. 06 of 2012 which states that all learning institutions are obliged s to provide reasonable accommodation to ensure that students with disabilities are not placed at a substantial disadvantage in their access to services, assessment and teaching
15.0 Monitoring and Evaluation
- Are children with disabilities identified as a separate category in general education system
- What procedures are in place to measure increase or decrease in enrolments of this group of children?
- What procedures do you have in place to assess the number of school age children who are not attending school?
- Can you identify the different categories to which these children belong?
- How can you improve your strategies to ensure that all children attend school?
- List the activities needed to ensure this outcome at all levels of the system.
- What records are required at school level to monitor the progress of children with disabilities, from school entry to school completion?
- What information is collected on children who drop out of school? Who are these children?
- Why are they dropping out? What measures can be taken to prevent this situation?
- How does the information gained during evaluation processes feed into revised policy and planning to improve both quantitative and qualitative outcomes for children with disabilities in the school system
- Is the rationale for the organisational development activity or project still valid? (This is important if there are plans to continue the work beyond the initial funding of the project)
- Did the organisational development activity or project achieve the results it was expected to (the objectives)? If so, what made the project successful? If not, what were the reasons?
- Are the results from the organisational development activity or project likely to be sustainable? (i.e. will the activities or benefits continue after completion?)
- Did the organisational development activity or project improve the lives of persons with disabilities through empowerment and reducing inequality?
- Was your organisation able to describe and measure the changes that resulted?