Curriculum for differently-abled – 16 Apr 2023
Government should do all to facilitate and include all groups of society
In 2020, a NADRA survey revealed that there are as many as 371,833 differently-abled children in Pakistan. Despite their large number, we rarely come across persons with disabilities (PWDs) in public spheres due to widespread discrimination and negative attitudes towards them. Both public and private educational institutes have largely failed to accommodate differently-abled children and facilitate them. In a bid to improve access to education, President Arif Alvi has urged the Ministry of Federal Education to develop a curriculum for differently-abled students to cater to their special educational requirements. People’s negative attitudes and remarks coupled with the absence of disabled-friendly infrastructure have prevented PWDs from participating in society.
From a young age, they are faced with discrimination, which often hampers their confidence and affects their ability to pursue education and employment. Consequently, most PWDs spend their lives as dependents. Given education’s ability to empower individuals and allow them to develop critical skills and knowledge, the Ministry of Education and Professional Training must pursue the President’s directives in earnest. The President also suggested that the curriculum should focus on the behavioural change of society towards PWDs to support them.
This can be monumental in reducing the social stigma and integrating PWDs into society from a young age as children are more receptive compared to adults. Filling job quotas of PWDs in the federal and provincial governments will serve as a reminder that PWDs are just capable and equal beings like the rest of the population. The ministry will launch teacher training programmes so that teachers can cater to PWDs better. The ministry must ensure all educational institutes implement curriculum changes and teaching programmes. The government should do all to facilitate and include all groups of society.