In January, the Department of Education estimated that about 590 000 children with disabilities had no school to attend, with many placed on waiting lists for special schools. Children can be on a waiting list for up to five years.
While children with disabilities by law are allowed to go to any school of their choice, only about 120 000 children attend public schools with their peers without physical disabilities. Disability organisations are now taking a stand against the Department of Education. Autism South Africa, National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities and Down Syndrome South Africa are the complainants in a legal action against the Department.
They are being represented by the Centre for Child Law. Sandy Usswald, national director for Autism South Africa, notes: “We know from recent media reports that there are 500 000 children with disabilities out of school and this is an immediately realisable right that is being denied to our children. We are trying to collect the names and stories of as many families as possible so that we can represent them in this case.”
The organisations are calling on parents of children with disabilities to complete a short survey, which can be found here, to share their story. For more information about the case, contact Autism South Africa directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or email the ROLLING INSPIRATION team at email@example.com.