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Launch of the ‘National Inclusive Education Programme for Persons with Impaired Vision’ in Palestine

The speakers' panel at the launch ceremony
© Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation
From left to right: CBM's President Dave McComiskey, the Palestinian Minister of Education and Higher Education, Prof. Ali Zeidan Abu Zuhri, and Lord Colin Low, President of ICEVI.

A ceremony to mark the official launch of the National Inclusive Education Programme for Persons with Impaired Vision in Palestine was held in Ramallah on 29 January 2014.

Schools and education facilities need to be more accessible

The National Inclusive Education Programme for Persons with Impaired Vision in Palestine was officially launched in Ramallah on 29 January 2014.

The UN's Education for All (EFA) initiative has made significant progress since 1990 in getting non-disabled children into school, but it has largely failed to include children with disabilities, particularly those requiring alternative modes of communication. The Palestinian Education Development Plan 2008-12 acknowledges that, though there have been some achievements in terms of providing education for all, facilities to support students with disabilities have not been adequate to their needs and services need to be made more available and accessible.

Improve education through resourcing students with disabilities and teachers

The National Programme for Inclusive Education of students with impaired vision in Palestine is designed to address this situation. It is a collaborative venture between the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI) and CBM. It will focus on measures to improve education through resourcing and equipping students and education personnel, enhancing physical accessibility, developing quality health provision and forging strong partnerships among those who undertake inclusive initiatives. Although this initiative is aimed at the inclusion of students with impaired vision initially, it is hoped that it can be extended to include those with other disabilities in due course.

Lord Colin Low, President of ICEVI said: "ICEVI wholeheartedly welcomes and supports this initiative. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognises the right of all disabled people to inclusive education. Inclusive education helps break down barriers between people with disabilities and others, transforms negative attitudes and enables students with disabilities to realise their full potential."

Dave McComiskey, President of CBM, said: "In welcoming this initiative, we firmly believe that it will enable people with visual impairments to access better life opportunities, develop their personal capabilities and skills and become active members of Palestinian society. We would like to express our deep appreciation to all those who have collaborated with us through sharing information, knowledge and time to get the programme to the launching pad."


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