The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria hosted the 6th annual Disability Rights in Africa conference from the 6th to the 7th of November 2018 at St George Hotel in Pretoria. The theme for this year’s conference was “Are we learning together? Addressing barriers to inclusive education in the African region.”

Presenters brought to the conference a wealth of experience and knowledge gained from years of working in and around inclusive education in different capacities. The conference presenters were from 16 different countries including, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Nigeria, Comoros, Mozambique, India, United States of America and United Kingdom. The presenters all work in inclusive education in different capacities including as academics and members of civil society. A wide range of topics related to inclusive education were covered including challenges to and good practices in achieving inclusive education for all, models of inclusive education, meeting the needs of learners with specific disabilities, curriculum and policy development for inclusive education, capacity building, implementation strategies and the role of socialisation, parents and media in achieving inclusive education.

Eight capacity building workshops were also conducted during the two day conference and these were immensely popular with conference delegates because they were deliberately designed to be interactive in nature. Lasting 90 minutes, the workshops were each facilitated by an expert focusing on one practical aspect of inclusive education. Some of the workshops which were conducted at the conference include:

  • Conducting strategic litigation on inclusive education which was facilitated by Professor Ann Skelton who is the Director of the Centre for Child Law, University of Pretoria and a member of UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Professor Skelton facilitated this workshop alongside Anjuli Maistry, who is an attorney at the Centre for Child Law, University of Pretoria with extensive experience in conducting strategic litigation on inclusive education.
  • Developing policy on inclusive education which was facilitated by Marie Schoeman who is the Programmes Technical Lead, Inclusive Education, Leonard Cheshire, South Africa.
  • A universal design for learning Swahili: A reading application for intellectually disabled learners in inclusive primary schools in Tanzania which was facilitated by Izel Obermeyer from the Westchester Institute for Human Development.
  • Conducting effective advocacy on inclusive education facilitated by Robyn Beere who is the Chairperson of the Right to Education for Children with Disabilities Alliance.

Conference delegates gave very positive feedback on the quality of the presentations at the conference with one delegate stating that, “I learnt a lot from this conference and will make sure that I come back for next year’s conference.” This year’s conference was a platform on which promising practices and experiences from different countries in Africa and beyond were shared and delegates left with ideas on how to better implement inclusive education in Africa.
For more information contact Innocentia Mgijima-Konopi & Dianah Msipa


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