ICODZIM has mobilized women, mothers of children with disabilities and young women with disability to attend the Zimbabwean Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education. The meeting was a consultation meeting on the Education Amendment Bill of 2019. It was conducted today the 5th of April 2019 at Masvingo Civic Center Hall. Over 40 persons with disability attended the consultation meeting, three quarters persons with disability were women with disability.
In order to ensure that women with disability do not just attend but meaningfully participate, in preparation of the meeting ICODZIM, packaged the bill in an accessible format and shared it with some of its beneficiaries. Secondly during the consultation meeting ICODZIM provided two sign language interpreters to cater for the women with hearing impairment, so they could effectively engage the committee. Three women with hearing impairments made recommendations to the portfolio committee (through the sign language interpreters). Some recommendations were made on corporal punishment, timely disbursements and prioritization of grants for children with disabilities.
Some of the recommendations made by the participants include the adding that the state should provide for the resourcing of schools to cater for the needs of persons with disabilities on clause 6. On 62 which states that public schools should endeavor to teach every officially recognized language including sign. The recommendation was that it should not be limited by the availability of resources as it is the only language persons with disability can understand or converse in.
Other recommendations included, defining to what extent state fund will go and what it cover. Secondly, to whom does a citizen claim the right, for the pupils to have the right to sue the government if schools are understaffed? For the bill to include alternative punitive measures since corporal punishment is to be removed, to list other sources of funding, alternative ways to collect fees, to include quantifiable facilities that makes a school inclusive so that children can attend schools close to them .Furthermore, recommendations included that money collected from private schools registration should be channeled to upgrade schools and for the bill to include enforcement mechanism, after school plans on disability inclusion have been approved on 68B.
ICODZIM noted that if information is packaged in an accessible manner in time and mobilization is effectively done women with disability do effectively participate in civic engagement. “One of the participant commented that this was more of a disability and access to education meeting than an Education Amendment Bill in general,” because 75% of recommendations made were on disability and access to education. This comment was made because there was 50/50 participation disaggregating by gender, and disability. ICODZIM intends to continue packaging the bill in accessible format, continue having consultation meetings on the bill in other districts which were not present and prepare a write up that it will submit to the committee when parliament opens on the 7th of May 2019.
Source: Institute for Community Development in Zimbabwe Trust (ICODZIM)