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SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ISSUES OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN PAKISTAN Prof. Dr. Abdul Hameed, Dean School of Social Sciences and Humanities University of.

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Presentation on theme: "SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ISSUES OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN PAKISTAN Prof. Dr. Abdul Hameed, Dean School of Social Sciences and Humanities University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ISSUES OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN PAKISTAN Prof. Dr. Abdul Hameed, Dean School of Social Sciences and Humanities University of Management and Technology Lahore

2 The Prevalence of Disabilities National census 1998 reports 2.49% prevalence WHO estimates 6% of the population as disabled Small scale in depth studies claim 6 to 14% Of 180 million population the number of persons with disabilities range from 4 to 8 million in Pakistan 45% of these are children under age 18 At least 3 million adults (both genders included) need rehabilitation through some kind of employment How many of them have, in fact, access to decent employment is not known They remain invisible in almost all development plans

3 The Children with Disabilities At least 2 million school age children are at high risk In spite of all good efforts and spending only 40,000 (2%) have access to special education Another 2 % are in ordinary schools with out much academic support Special education only caters for the urban children About 1.5 million rural children have no access to education Right to education is still a big question mark The children without disabilities have far better access (above 65%) to education

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6 Disability and Poverty The relationship between poverty and disability is two way: disability adds to the risk of poverty and conditions of poverty increase the risk of disability. At least 20% of the people living below the poverty line suffer from disability as well. Disability is a relative term like poverty, relying on interpretation of a ‘normal activity’ Norms vary: an impairment considered to be disabling in one environment may not be in another. Disability is inherently difficult to observe; and required subjective assessment. The subjectivity of the judgment makes disability a political issue

7 Disability Leads to Poverty Disability leads to poverty in the following ways: Loss of income Additional cost of disability management Exclusion from services and/or social and community activities because of stigmatization and other negative attitude of the society Reduced opportunities for work for the families with children having disability Low expectations in terms of capacity to earn Lack of technical and financial support Disabling environment particularly with reference to social services such as healthcare, education, protection Unfriendly job market

8 Poverty Leads to Disability Poverty creates following conditions which increases the risk of disability: Overburden and impoverished family (not able to meet basic needs) Poor nutrition and poor body defense against disease Illiteracy and lack of awareness about health and welfare Poor health due unaffordable healthcare cost Lack of access to basic services that prevent disability Over-working more often in risky physical labor environments Un-employment, under-employment and low wage rate

9 Changing Perspectives of Disability There is a shift in understanding of disability from a condition of “abnormality” to a case of “human diversity” with equal rights and privileges

10 Disability A Case of Poverty Alleviation Persons with disabilities are poorest of the poor They constitute a “population most at risk” Disability is seen as a “burden on society” Poverty cannot be alleviated without addressing the needs of persons with disabilities Persons with disabilities are “human capital” Disability is a “business case” There is a loss of GDP if people with disabilities do not have access to decent work and employment Social protection plan for persons with profound disabilities

11 Disability A Case of Human Rights Persons with disabilities have right to social, political and economical inclusion This inclusion requires barrier free access to state resources and services to ensure meaningful participation Persons with disabilities are “claimants” to a dignified life as citizen of the state The public institutions are “duty bearers” as safeguard against all forms of discrimination The creation of “enabling environment” should be the target instead of “rehabilitation” There is a need to welcome and accommodate “human diversity” instead of labeling it as a “handicap” and a case clinical treatment.

12 International Commitments Following international commitments have direct implications for a change in policy and practices UN Declaration of Human Rights [1948], UN Convention on the Rights of the Child [1989], World Declaration on Education for All [1990], UN Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities [1993], Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action [1994], Dakar Framework for Action [2000], UN Millennium Development Goals [2001] National Policy for Persons with Disabilities [2002] UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2007

13 A Need for Paradigm Shift All international declarations call for a change of mind set from charity paradigm to right-based paradigm A substantial reconstruction in both theory and practice is in order An effort without changing the mind set that perpetuate charity paradigm will not bear any fruit Disability is a cross cutting issue and requires collaborative efforts of public and private sectors In public sector all line ministries are equal partners and they need to be on board

14 Areas of Action and the Duty Bearers Access to following services is extremely limited: Early identification and intervention (MOH) Appropriate education and training (MOE, MOSE) Health care and allied services (MOH) Recreation and entertainment (MOCS) Social and political inclusion and participation (MOLAPA) Decent work and employment (MOL) Financial support and social protection (MOF, MOSW) Legal protection and access to justice (MOLAPA) Old age benefits

15 Inclusive Education The only way forward The dream of 100% enrollment as perceived in the UN Millennium Development Goals can not come true without addressing the educational need of children with disabilities Special schools, in spite of all their benefits, have failed to nurture a natural growth of these children because of social segregation. The cost of special education is Rs.30,000 per child per year as compared to Rs.2500 for a child studying in an ordinary school. The most economical solution would be to make the primary school functioning at the doorstep open to all children through inclusive education.

16 The Definition of the Role of IE Salamanca Statement 1994 clearly speaks on the definition and role of inclusive education: “…schools should accommodate all children regardless of their physical, intellectual, emotional, social, linguistic or other conditions. They should include disabled and gifted children, street and working children, children from remote and nomadic populations, children from linguistic, ethnic or cultural minorities and children from other disadvantaged or marginalized areas or groups. “Regular school with inclusive orientation are the most effective means of combating discrimination, creating welcoming communities, building an inclusive society and achieving education for all; moreover, they provide an effective education to the majority of children and improve the efficiency and ultimately the cost effectiveness of the entire education system” (Article 2).

17 Historical Developments on IE During the seven years (from 2000 to 2007) a series of seminars, workshops, conferences resulted in a perceptual change in the history of education in Pakistan. As a result, the National Educational Policy 2009, for the first time, mentioned IE as a solution to educational inequalities particularly in terms of its access to marginalize communities. The Education Policy 2009 reads: “To achieve the commitments of Government of Pakistan towards Education for All (EFA) and the MDGs, inclusive and child-friendly education shall be promoted (p.19)”.

18 Two Dominant Barriers to IE in Pakistan When a journey towards inclusive education was ready to take off the federal government devolved the education ministry to provincial governments. The provincial governments are not conceptually very clear what to do next. At provincial level the movement of inclusive seems loosing it momentum because of two barriers: Attitudes of ordinary school teachers Attitudes of special education teachers

19 Attitudes of Ordinary School Teachers First, they feel that they are not fully competent and supported for this major shift and it will be difficult to create a welcoming environment for children with special needs even if they are really willing to do it. Second, the public school is already under furious criticism for its extremely low educational standards. The inclusion of special children will further deteriorate the quality of instruction and the school may collapse. The students and parents will resist this shift They fail to see the strength of inclusive education as a school improvement plan.

20 Attitudes of special education teachers They argue that special needs children require a type of “clinical care” that will never be possible in a free and least restricted environment of public school. The students of public school will not accept them and they may bully, hate and show aggressive behavior against children with special needs. Deep in their minds they feel inclusive education is a threat to their jobs and future career. They fear that in case the inclusive education is successfully implemented in Pakistan, they will be out of jobs.

21 Attitudinal barriers In the presence of these attitudinal barriers Pakistan has failed to exploit the resources available in the country and in the form of foreign aid for achieving MDGs particularly the goal “Education for ALL” through inclusive approaches.

22 Definitional Debate There seems a consensus that ordinary school should be open to all children including special needs except those with severe to profound disabilities.There seems a consensus that ordinary school should be open to all children including special needs except those with severe to profound disabilities. The nation is still far away form the philosophy of inclusive education, which stands for the elimination of such discrimination.The nation is still far away form the philosophy of inclusive education, which stands for the elimination of such discrimination. By excluding the severe and profound disabilities from the definition of inclusion the decision makers in fact deny the right of education of this segment.By excluding the severe and profound disabilities from the definition of inclusion the decision makers in fact deny the right of education of this segment.

23 Definitional Debate It is a violation of the UNCRPD which clearly stops the exclusion of children with even severe disabilities from mainstream education. The article 24.2 (a) of UNCRPD reads as: 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.

24 First issue: Definitional Debate Pakistan has recently ratified this convention. In order to fulfill the obligation of ratification the state must respond to educational needs of all children under one roof. There is need to realize that the definition of inclusive education will have to be inclusive to the extent that it must ensure “no child is left behind”.

25 Roadmap for Inclusive Education (Hameed, 2005) Phase I Remote rural primary schools with high incidence of disabilities Phase II Rural primary schools with low incidence of disabilities Phase III All rural primary schools and middle schools Phase IV All primary schools and rural high schools Phase V All high schools and rural colleges Phase VI All colleges and Universities

26 Thank You


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