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Disabled integration touted

The audience at Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich Exhibition Center
The audience at Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich Exhibition Center waits for a speech by Prime Minister Hun Sen as part of the Day of Persons with Disabilities yesterday. Heng Chivoan

Disabled integration touted

Disabled Cambodians were promised a “society without barriers” by Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday in a speech on Cambodia’s Day of Persons with Disabilities in Phnom Penh.

About 1,500 disabled Cambodians marked the day at a gathering of more than 2,000 people in the capital’s Koh Pich Exhibition Center.

“[The government] will continue to work for the integration of disabled people into a society without barriers,” Hun Sen said. “[The government’s commitment] is to integrate all forms of political activity, social activity and culture.”

Disabled teachers and teachers who have taught disabled children at NGOs, he added, have not been recognised by the government for the important role they play.

“I think that there are not many disabled teachers and teachers who have taught at the disability NGOs. We must consider including teachers with disabilities, such as those at Krousar Thmey [an NGO the premier has visited in the past], in the civil service.”

Hun Sen pledged to recruit an additional 1,000 teachers annually over the next two years, adding that the recruitment of teachers to teach disabled students at the NGO would mean they received two salaries, one from the civil service and one from Krousar Thmey. It was unclear if this pledge could apply to other similar NGOs.

He also called on the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation to include Braille and sign language in the national school curriculum.

The premier said that the government had recruited 1,468 disabled people into the civil service in 2011 and 2012, adding that the government would continue to impose an existing 2 per cent quota for the hiring of disabled workers in the civil service.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, welcomed the policy to increase the recruitment of disabled teachers and teachers who had taught disabled people at NGOs.

“It is a trend not only in Cambodia but globally to promote the rights of disabled people. If those individuals have the capacity to work for the government and private sector, I welcome it,” he said.

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