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Morris calls for international education order for the disabled

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, June 27, 2019

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ROSE HALL, St James Opposition Senator Dr Floyd Morris has called for a new international education order for persons with disabilities.

Senator Morris, who is director of the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, said that the global education order “must see Government placing a greater emphasis on the education of children with disabilities.

He was speaking at the University of the West Indies and the Division of International Special Special Education and Services special education conference at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel in St James, yesterday.

“If it is that you want children with disabilities to be empowered and transformed, education must play a fundamental role,” stated Morris.

“We, therefore, must see every single teacher that is coming out of teacher training colleges, baring none, be equipped and trained with the necessary skill-set to deal with children with disabilities in the classroom.”

Morris added that governments across the globe should not only ensure that educational institutions are accessible to persons with disabilities, but that modern technology are also available to them in order for them to “link and liaise with their disabled counterparts in the classroom”.

“We are talking about access to information on an equal basis with others in the general education system. We must ensure that persons with disabilities are fully included and integrated in the general education system,” Morris said.

The blind senator, who has attained first, second and third degrees, said he is a perfect example of what inclusive education is about.

“It was through inclusive education why I was able to go to the University of the West Indies and was able to successfully complete a first degree, a second degree and a third degree. It was through inclusive education why officials of the State recognised my talent and ability and included me in the political framework of our country. That inclusion has yielded benefit to the disabled community in general because when the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities came into force at the United Nations, Jamaica was the first country in the world to sign and ratify that convention,” Morris noted.

He added: “That inclusion in the Parliament of Jamaica led to the establishment of the Disabilities Act in 2014 and in very short order you care going to see that legislation rolled out, so educators make sure that you put your house in order because we are coming to make sure that persons with disabilities are included in the education system.”

Acting chief education officer at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Winnie Berry said the conference theme, “Inclusion for all in a changing world”, is relevant.

“We have the a responsibility to assess how students with special needs are specifically affected by the ways in which the world is changing, including the result of globalisation and increased interconnectedness of the world,” Berry said.


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