New York, 3 October 2013 – The inclusion of the rights of persons with disabilities in the Post-2015 Development Agenda was debated at the highest level of government during the opening of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly a week before. It is the first time in UN history that the rights of persons with disabilities have been discussed within the framework of the UN political agenda.
UK is taking an initiative for this.
According to “UK pledge to help tackle the ‘great neglect’ of disability”, UK pledged that all public-based school will be designed to allow disability access, and using “universal design” (universal because for the diverse students, its infrastructure and teaching design will aims to support all student ) And UK will urge countries´ commitments under the UN Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD)
So far, 134 countries have ratified or acceded to the Convention. But how many countries are taking actions at a practical level? Only a few….
Latin American region had also submitted a big agenda of inclusion for this event to make their voices heard.
For its preparation, UN organizations, NGOs, and experts on disabilities were invited to various High Level meetings to decide what should be included in the agenda. And in May, as a representative of the UNESCO, I attended one of the meeting where more than 100 representatives attended.
To be honest, I was a little bit disappointed at this meeting because of many vague contents being discussed instead of practical parts (theories and Human Rights issues).
When we started discussing about Education for the people with disability, I spoke out with poor Spanish saying:
“I was a teacher. And I believe in Inclusive Education. From the perspective of teacher, the problem we have is that teachers are willing to include students with disabilities only if they know how to deal with them, and most of us don´t know what to do. Human rights are important. All the constitutions supporting inclusion are equally important. So many countries have ratified CRPD meaning they are supporting Human Rights and inclusion at national levels. But they don´t put them into practice so we need to start discussing on the contents of professional developments which take into account of teachers´ busy schedule.”
As a response to my comment, a person from the Ministry of Education (of a country A) said:
“We have professional training in our country so they know how to teach. We should focus more on Human Rights approach!!”
“Just because there exists training program, it does not mean teachers know how to teach students with disabilities.”
Unfortunately, my comments were initially included in the agenda, but was excluded as if professional development wes not as important as Human Rights approach.
Although human rights base approach is really important at the global level, I don´t think every teachers will be able to have a skill to teach unless they have proper training.
I think many agendas and educational programs do not focus on classrooms and teachers as much as it should be.
Maybe I should gain more professional experience and speech skills to be able to convince policy makers.
Thanks for reading.