THE Special Education Teachers Unions of Zambia (SPETUZ) has expressed concern and disappointment that since the launch of the free education policy, government has neglected to fund education for pupils with special education needs and disabilities.
Government has not been providing grants to Early Childhood Education, Primary and Secondary Schools which has disadvantaged pupils in schools.
SPETUZ president Frank Musukwa has observed that the lack of grant was hindering the provision of quality education delivery to the leamers with special education needs and disabilities in the country.
Dr Musukwa has charged that the union was disappointed as it expected special education units this year to be funded independently from mainstream school grants where units for leaners with special education needs and disabilities exist using a ratios.
He wondered that if Early Child Education, primary and secondary education could receive adequate funding, it was then not fir to neglect of special education units that play an equal fundamental role in the provision of education for special education needs and disabilities learners. Dr Musukwa disclosed to the Daily Nation that some school administrators in mainstream schools were reluctant to evenly disburse funds to special education units on the assumption that teaching and learning materials for leamers with special education needs and disabilities could consume the entire grant as materials were expensive.
Dr Musukwa stated that funding should be adequate as most teaching and learning materials such as bralle papers, parkinson braidler machines, writing frames and stylus, assistive learning devices for the special education needs and disabilities learners were not locally available.
He said that children with special education needs and disabilities were future leaders and was quick to state that it was vital that the government demonstrated political will towards addressing the lack of and inadequate funding for the sector.
Dr Musukwa said this should be demonstrated by independent funding of all special education units and special education schools accross the country.
He urged the government that more resources be channelled to the sector adding that there is a dire need for more funding, qualified special education teachers.
“We believe that the government is in a financial position to afford that investment for learners with special education needs and disabilities. The Union demands that the government should establish as a matter of urgency a directorate responsible for special and inclusive education to oversee the administration and management of the sector,” Dr Musukwa said.