Children with disabilities are entitled to education like any other child, however, thousands of children in Jordan are deprived of this right, said HRH Prince Mired, president of the Higher Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (HCD).
In Jordan, children with disabilities aged five and older accounted for 11.2 per cent of children from the same age group in 2015, according to the General Population and Housing Census, issued by the Department of Statistics (read full story).
There are almost 500,000 people with disabilities under the age of 18 in Jordan and, by law, all Jordanian children should have access to education free from discrimination, Prince Mired said.
In a recent interview with The Jordan Times, the Prince said that since children with disabilities are excluded from the general education system, with the majority (85 per cent — 95 per cent) being educated in isolation from the community, if they receive education at all.
The prince said that many disabled children around the Kingdom are shut inside their homes due to cultural stigma, or put in special centres for the disabled.
“If we are able to apply the letters of the law, society would be in a better place,” Prince Mired said.
There remains a large gap between policy and practice, he added, calling on all concerned parties to engage in “serious and sincere steps” to apply the law and provide disabled children with their rights.
Prince Mired said that inclusive education is the solution, as “it challenges the educational system to make our schools a place where all children can participate”.
“In the long run, and with the proper education, they [children with disabilities] will find jobs; they might become professors, scientists or doctors, among other professions; but most importantly, they will become productive members of society rather than dependent, and thus shift from being a tax taker to a tax giver,” Prince Mired said.
“Unfortunately almost all of our governmental and private schools are not equipped for inclusive education; almost all lack school structure, designed curricula and teachers’ training,” he added.