The Government of Punjab has launched the first-ever Special Education Policy to ensure People With Disabilities (PWDs) in the province have access to an inclusive and improved education system that meets their needs. Deputy Head of Department For International Development and representatives from a number of organizations attended the launch of Punjab Special Education Policy.
The policy aims at improving governance within the Special Education Department (SpED) and also enhancing cooperation between different departments involved in education. The number of educational institutions dedicated to SpED would be increased and enhanced, and the role of the research and development unit would be made more central to provide analyses key to better decision-making.
During the event, SpED highlighted the stories of inspiring Pakistanis who are also PWDs to show what the next generation of Pakistanis who would benefit from this policy could look like. These individuals achieved and surmounted incredible odds, the policy would help the next generation achieve the same in an environment that would recognize they have much to contribute and nurture their talents. This featured the story of Abdul Razzaq, former captain of two times World Cup winner Blind Cricket Team of Pakistan, who also attended this event.
Kemi Willims, Deputy Head of DFID Pakistan, said, “Children with disabilities are ten times less likely to visit a school”. She also stressed on the rights of PWDs.
Chaudhry Muhammad Akhlaq, Provincial Minister for Special Education, said that “We are not treating special education as an afterthought; we are making it central to what we intend to do. We intend to make sure PWDs not just receive an education, but quality education. We are incorporating certain classes of PWDs into our regular stream of schools, they will now be educated together so they no longer live separate lives”.
Special Education Department’s secretary Syed Javed Iqbal Bukhari said, “Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) – and I am happy to mark this day with the introduction of our policy, and sharing with the world the achievements of our youth chronicled in these success stories”.
A large number of individuals from the government sector, NGOs and the development sector attended this event. The event was held in collaboration with UK aid and Cambridge Education.