, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 16 – Celebrated Paralympian Henry Wanyoike has called for the adoption of assistive technology to afford children living with disabilities an equal chance in society.
In his message to mark the Day of the African Child on Saturday, the award-winning athlete emphasized the need to embrace assistive technologies in the quest to attain inclusion and the well-being of disabled children.
“Lack of Assistive Technology for children with disabilities denies them full participation and inclusion in the society,” Wanyoike intimated.
He urged state and non-state actors to work together to achieve an inclusive society where disabled persons have an equal chance to thrive.
According to a National Special Needs Education Survey (NSNES) released in June 2016, there is a high prevalence (13.5 percent) of disability among children in the country.
The study, which was sanctioned by the Ministry of Education Science and Technology revealed that at least one in every 10 persons under the age of 21 were living with a disability at the time of its publication.
The study also revealed that 31 percent of those in the said age bracket – around one in three – had multiple disabilities.
According to the report, a majority of children living with disabilities were out of school; the study at the time estimating the number to be 16 percent.
The report also indicated that public schools are ill-equipped in addressing and meeting the needs of children with disabilities recommending more special education centers and deployment of specialized teachers in existing integrated schools.
While giving his remarks during the launch of NSNES, Principal Secretary in the State Department of Basic Education, Belio Kipsang, called for concerted efforts to address existing inequalities impeding children living with disabilities.
“The NSNES contains recommendations that could improve the situation of children with special needs, thereby helping improve equity in access to education in Kenya,” he then noted.
“Ensuring that inclusive education becomes a reality in Kenya will not only uphold the rights of children with special needs, it will also improve the participation of people with special needs in our country’s development,” he implored.
The NSNES report was based on a sample of 8,400 households across all the 47 counties.
This year’s event is themed “Leave No Child Behind for Africa’s Development.”