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Education ‘key’ for disabled children

The Ministry of Social Affairs is calling on organisations working with disabled children to help ensure the children have equal access to education.

Following the National Assembly’s ratification on Friday of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, ministry officials met yesterday with organisations from 11 provinces to discuss educational equality, a right included in the convention.

“We need to address children first when dealing with disabilities, because if we want the disabled to engage in society, they have to have the same level of education as others,” said Vanly Virya, executive director of the Institute to Serve Facilitators of Development in Cambodia.

Many schools lack materials and facilities for disabled children and teachers trained to teach them, Virya said.

Few universities offer programs to educate such teachers, according to Ke Dararoth, education program manager with NGO Catholic Relief Services.

Minister of Social Affairs Ith Sam Heng said the government is doing its best to address the needs of disabled children.

“Nowadays, we are shrinking students’ travel times by building more schools and creating more special education programs,” he said.

However, Ngir Saorath, executive director of the Cambodian Disabled People’s Organisation, said that the government should broaden its view to take more consideration of non-physical disabilities.

To contact the reporter on this story: Khoun Leakhana at leakhana.khoun@phnompenhpost.com
With assistance from Justine Drennan

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