Special Schools Unit to be established at education ministry

As part of ensuring an inclusive education for all Fijians, Government will establish a unit within the Ministry of Education to specifically deal with the education of children with disabilities and special school institutions.

Minister for Education Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy says the unit which will be established next year, will ensure that assistance and other issues relating to special schools are given recognition.

?Currently we have only one officer in the Ministry under the primary education division but next year we want to ensure that we have a unit that specifically deals with fast ? tracking issues and requests made by special children and institutions,? he said.

?This would further boost the work and practices of our special children and institutions and we are working very closely with the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP).?

The 2013 Constitution includes significant provisions for persons with disabilities including the right to reasonable access to all places, public transport and information; sign language, Braille and other means of communication; reasonable access to necessary material, substances and devices relating to the person?s disability; reasonable adaptation of buildings, practices and procedures to enable them full participation in society and the effective realisation of their rights.

The Minister reiterated that his Ministry remained committed towards meeting the objectives as stipulated in the Constitution.

?The Constitution enshrines the right of every person to early childhood, primary, secondary and further education and in addition, the right to access quality education in local schools is supported by various Acts and captured in the Ministry of Education?s Policy on Effective Implementation of Special and Inclusive Education, endorsed in 2011,? Hon. Dr Reddy said.

?No fuss is necessary in places where people are operating on unspoken principles of inclusion and where barriers that arise are overcome creatively and communally.?

FNCDP executive director Dr Sitiveni Yanuyanutawa welcomed the announcement by the Minister saying it reflected the Fijian Government?s commitment towards giving students with special needs equal access to quality education.

PRESS RELEASE