Youth drawn from the African continent have called on their respective governments to build more specialised schools for students with disability, equip the schools with specialised learning materials and invest in ICT if the countries are to realise inclusive and quality education for all.
Speaking during a Youth Dialogue on Education conference in Nairobi, the youth said the government continues to discriminate against people living with disability given the little investment in building and equipping specialised schools.
“It is not easy traveling all the way from Machakos County to Kiambu County for school but it is the only way that I can also access education. Unfortunately, many others drop out of school as a result,” said Patricia Kamene, a delegate at the conference who is also a student at Thika High School for the Blind.
The youth also petitioned the government to fast track the integration of ICT and other technologies in to learning to adequately prepare students well to face the future.
“Many schools in Kenya, just like in many parts of Africa, have no access to the basics like computers. How do you prepare students for a future that is run by technology when they have no basic knowledge of ICT,” wondered John Mutange, a delegate and a form 3 student at Mbagathi Road Secondary School.
The conference is organised by Plan International and partner organisations like Forum for African Women’s Educationalists (FAWE) and UNESCO. It has brought together youth from 15 African countries to deliberate on education matters on the continent. It is a precursor of the high-level Pan-African Conference on Education (PACE) to be held later on in the week in Nairobi. A memorandum drawn from deliberations from the conference will be presented to the Ministers during PACE by the youth.
Plan International Regional Director Roland Angerer supported the youth’s call for the need to push the education agenda in Africa through the integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). He argued the youth to use the conference in coming up with suggestions and recommendations aimed at achieving high quality education.
“There is need to break barrier that hinder young people in accessing high quality education. Early marriages, conflicts, poverty and cultural norms are some of the obstacles that should be addressed. Plan International aims to advocate for the budget prioritization by the Government in the education sector,” said Roland.
Martha Muhwezi, Forum for African Women’s Educationalists (FAWE) Head of Programs said that education for young people should be in a conducive environment where both boys and girls are accorded special attention having different biological needs respectively. In addition, she urged all young people to be aware of their rights that allow them to hold the government accountable, in providing them with high quality education.
The conferences are taking place three years since the International community adopted the Education 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4).