By Sheminah Nkhoma MANA

Deputy Director for Inclusive Education in the Ministry of Education, Lucy Magagula, says government will continue supporting the education sector in order to diversify education system in the country.

Speaking during the opening of a four-day National Inclusive Education Strategy Review workshop in Lilongwe on Tuesday, Magagula said the review will help reflect the unwavering commitment so that no learner is left behind in line with Malawi 2063 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

She said the Ministry finds it imperative to promote inclusion of learners with diverse needs through different interventions in education institutions.

“Government realises the need to intervene in the development of inclusive education because they are a lot of special needs students in the country hence the need for effective partnerships to promote the system,” she said.

According to Magagula, primary schools in Malawi have 193,880 learners with special education needs whereas secondary schools have 11,521 and tertiary has 229 students.

“There is need for collaboration and coordination with other stakeholders to develop a new inclusive strategy in line with the inclusive policy which the Ministry is working towards,” she said.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Education Office Director, Dr Jill Jupiter Jones, said their organisation shares the same commitments with Malawi Government as it is supporting the implementation of the National Reading Program through the Next Generation Early Grade Reading Activity, also called NRP Nexten, whose goal is to ensure that all children learn to read during the early grades of primary school.

She urged all Malawians and donor partners to continue supporting children with disabilities by bringing projects that can lead to more systematic and sustained improvement to a clear shared national strategy.

Keynote speaker, Jenipher Ngwira, said it is important to embrace inclusive education because they are many children with special needs and disabilities in the country.

Ngwira highlighted that stakeholders and government should have a deep understanding of the concept of disabilities so that they promote inclusion in areas of social, health, human rights and culture.

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