Sainimili Naivalu gets into a public bus at Rewa St in Suva. Picture: JONA KONATACI
THE Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill (Bill No.12 2016) will affect all persons living with a disability, their families and their communities.
While making the Ministry of Education’s submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Affairs this week, senior education officer of the Special and Inclusive Education Unit Litea Naliva said the Bill would affect the schools and stakeholders of institutions where they would be educated, its staffing, funding and resources.
Ms Naliva said the Ministry of Education in Fiji, through the endorsement of the Inclusive Education Policy, was committed to progressively meet the needs of all students with special needs in active partnership with parents and community.
She said the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP) Act of 1994 was limited in scope, and did not sufficiently address the needs of persons with disabilities.
“The United Nations Convention on the rights of People with Disabilities Article 24, on Education requires that all children with disabilities are not excluded from free and compulsory primary and secondary education on the basis of disability; it includes measures to ensure that the education of persons, and in particular children, who are blind, deaf and deaf-blind, is delivered in the most appropriate languages and modes and means of communication for the individual,” she said.
She said Fiji special schools had a strong system of providing support to inclusion.
“Although mainstreaming students with disabilities is encouraged, the special schools will remain open for those children with very high support needs. Special school is still an option, allowable in the Convention,” Ms Naliva said.