Special Assistant to CM Sindh in the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Syed Qasim Naveed Qamar, stated that hearing impaired and visually challenged children are second to none in terms of talent. All they need is a friendly environment to enhance their capabilities.
This he stated in a seminar on “Understanding the need to mainstream the discourse on Inclusion and Equity” organized by the Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi/ASER Pakistan, in collaboration with FESF and Sightsavers. They organized a policy dialogue to discuss the burning issue of inclusion and equity in the country.
On this occasion, Khalid Chachar (Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities), Ms Zubaida Mustafa (Eminent Journalist), Richard Geary (Executive Director, FESF/Deaf Reach), Khalid Naeem (Former Director General, Ministry of Special Education and Social Welfare, Government of Pakistan), Dr Kausar Waqar (AKU-IED), Dr Ghazala (AKU-IED), Rana Hussain (Education Consultant, Government of Sindh), Omair Ahmed (Director, NOWPDP), and Baela Raza Jamil (CEO, ITA) graced the occasion with their presence. The event was attended by a large number of participants from government and civil society organizations, donor agencies, research think tanks, and education experts.
It was informed that a staggering 15.15% of the surveyed children (5-16 years) were found to have a moderate/severe disability. It was proposed that there was a need to scale up the survey to the rest of the country as well in order to measure the disability prevalence in the country.
Findings from the learning assessment of the visually and hearing impaired children, using the braille and Pakistan sign language adapted ASER learning tools, showed that visually impaired children were performing remarkably well, despite only 33% of schools having assistive technologies for the visually impaired.
It was highlighted that sign language should be taught to deaf children so that these children could also communicate and learn properly. The dialogue ended with all stakeholders committing to take the work initiated by ITA forward.