Construction of UGX 200 Million Special Needs Education Facility in Lamwo Stalls

1982 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
Christopher Obalim, the Lamwo district Education Officer says development partners in the district have also folded their hands.

The construction of a primary school for children with special needs in Lamwo district has stalled due to lack of funds. Shillings 200 million is needed to finance the project. The district had expected to raise the money through local revenue collection in the 2012/2013 financial year in vain.

Christopher Obalim, the Lamwo district Education Officer says development partners in the district have also folded their hands. The project has since been relegated to the unfunded priorities of the district. He says the absence of the facility has crippled the learning of hundreds of children with disabilities in the district.
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Uganda is a signatory to the International Agreements or Commitments that provide for Learners with Special Needs. One example of such instruments that bind those agreements is the Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education (1994). This instrument emphasizes the Right of all children, including the Right of all children to attend school in their home communities in inclusive classes.

To meet requirements outlined in the 1995 Uganda Constitution and the Disability Act (2006), the Ministry of Education and Sports put in place a Department responsible for Special Needs and Inclusive Education to foresee the implementations of Instruments that demand Access, Equity and Quality of education services for persons with special learning needs.

In attempts to comply with this obligation, children with special needs in Lamwo are being referred to facilities in Kitgum and Gulu districts where individual parents are responsible for the children’s welfare.

Obalim says parents who are not able to support such children have simply kept them at home in contravention of their rights to education. But Okwir Simon Charles, the Principal of Kitgum Core Primary Teachers Colleges says Lamwo should redirect it focus have teachers trained in special needs to address the learning challenges of these children.
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According to UNESCO, “inclusive education is based on the right of all learners to a quality education that meets basic learning needs. However, a recent assessment by the Ministry of Education and Sports uncovered underlying challenges that is quite unique to Lamwo district.

Obalim says 25 children with special needs were identified in the assessment and found to be unfit to be included in the inclusive education without hearing aids.

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Obalim says some are suffering from the Nodding Syndrome that has retarded their mental abilities to learn with the rest of the children.


About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.