Johannesburg – South Africa has not delivered on its promises to guarantee inclusive education for children with disabilities and to ensure that they have adequate skills for employment, Human Rights Watch said today. President Cyril Ramaphosa should place children and young people with disabilities at the heart of the new administration’s priorities.
“Previous administrations have abandoned South Africa’s children and young people with disabilities,” Elin Martinez, Children’s Rights researcher at Human Rights Watch said. “The government has described its plans for children and young people with disabilities but has failed to translate them into results.”
In March 2019, Human Rights Watch spoke with 26 parents of children with disabilities and 5 young adults with disabilities in Orange Farm, a township outside Johannesburg, about their education experiences. The challenges they face exemplify the challenges faced by many more children in Gauteng province and other parts of South Africa, as documented by disability rights and inclusive education groups, and South Africa’s Human Rights Commission.
Many parents interviewed in Orange Farm said they felt let down by education officials, and staff at their children’s schools. They were concerned by the lack of equal treatment of their children and said that their children’s schools were not teaching them adequate skills to support their development, help them lead an independent life, and seek meaningful employment.
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