PM asks schools to discard reservation against educating disabled & autistic children
02 April 2017, Nirapad News: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged schools to discard a general reservation against disabled children saying one’s disability must not be a reason to keep him or her from education.
“General educational institutions don’t want to enroll the children with disabilities. This mentality will have to be removed,” she said while inaugurating the 10th World Autism Awareness Day at Osmani Memorial Auditorium here this morning.
She added: “We always give highest priority to education. But that must be uniformed.”
The Ministry of Social Welfare arranged the programme. The day is being observed in the country as elsewhere of the globe with the theme — “Toward Autonomy and Self-Determination”.
Health Minister Mohammad Nasim and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Social Welfare Ministry Dr Mozammel Hossain were present at the function as the special guests, while State Minister for Social Welfare Nuruzzaman Ahmed presided. Secretary of the Social Welfare Ministry Zillar Rahman delivered the welcome address.
The premier said the talent of the disabled children is endless. “I am wondered as so attractive picture they paint, beautiful song they sing and unique cultural programme they perform,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said whatever greeting cards she sends to the people on the occasion of different festivals like Eid and Nabobarsha are prepared by the children with disabilities.
The prime minister urged the people of all classes and professions to extend their helping hand to flourish the talents of the disabled children. “They must be given scope for flourishing their latent talents … let’s make beautiful their life,” she said.
Assuring that her government will do everything for the welfare of the children with disabilities, Sheikh Hasina urged the disabled children and their guardians to keep mental strength.
The guardians of such children feel helpless many times. “But I would like to tell them to have mental strength … we have constituted trust for them. We would try our best and such a thing we would do in future so that nobody suffer,” she said.
Sheikh Hasia also made a fervent appeal to private organisations and entrepreneurs to appoint the persons with all types of disabilities including autism in their respective organisations to ensure their development and dignity.
“There is no alternative to employment of the persons with all types of disabilities including autism to ensure their welfare and increase dignity in family and society,” she said.
The prime minister said many employers consider needs of the persons with autism as inability. “But sincerity of such people in work is much more and their presence at workplace is satisfactory in comparison with others,” she said.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina said work is underway to identify suitable workplaces for the physically-challenged people to appoint them on a priority basis. The premier also requested all public and private organisations to set up information centres including development of disabled persons-friendly software, audio video education tools, infrastructure and technology. In this regard, she mentioned that the persons with autism are capable of working with equal efficiency like others in computer and internet by using software.
Sheikh Hasina reiterated her call to all concerned for ensuring arrangement for ramps for the movement of the physically challenged people. “All will have to take the issue seriously keeping the welfare of the disabled in mind,” she said.
The prime minister said the issue of autism is not anew and its pervasion is huge. The children and persons with autism are an integral part of our family and society and the number of children with autism is increasing, she said. Noting that national development is not possible excluding the children with disabilities, Sheikh Hasina said they would be turned into a valuable asset if they are given special care by keeping in mind the needs of these tender-hearted children.
The prime minister said the people had no idea about autism few years ago. “The importance and awareness about autism have increased nationally and internationally thanks to tireless efforts of my daughter Saima Wazed,” she said.
The premier said her government after assuming office in 2009 took massive programmes and started implementing those for creating awareness about autism and the welfare of the persons with autism at the advice of Saima Wazed. Sheikh Hasina said “The Neurodevelopmental Disability Protection Act, 2013” was passed in parliament to protect interests of the persons with disability.
“Under the law, we have established the Neurodevelopmental Disability Protection Trust to consider the future of the physically-challenged children and Tk 41.50 crore have already been allocated for implementing its programmes,” she said, adding the allocation would be raised further later.
The prime minister said that the work on formulating a mental health policy is underway so that the children with disabilities get assistance. The prime minister said the Disability Information System Software was introduced for the development of the disabled people. “Through the software, we are collecting information about the number of such people, and so far we got a list of 15,10,800 disabled people,” she said.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina said the work on collection of information would continue and a database would be developed so that the persons with disabilities can get help from the government.
Later, the prime minister witnessed a colourful cultural function performed by the children with disabilities.
Earlier, Sheikh Hasina distributed awards among successful autistic children and individuals and organisations working for the development of the children with autism.