In 2008 IHC lodged its complaint against the on-going failure of New Zealand Governments and the Ministry of Education to ensure that disabled children access a quality education on an equal basis to others in New Zealand schools. IHC’s claim provided overwhelming evidence of a broken system that is failing disabled children and young people, teachers and families. The system was in crisis 10 years ago when IHC’s complaint was lodged on behalf of hundreds of New Zealand families.
The Education For All Forum, made up of disability, family and teacher organisations, is appalled that another generation of disabled children, families and their teachers have had to struggle because of government stalling and inaction over the ten years since the IHC complaint was lodged. All agree that the lack of government planning and support for inclusive education is responsible for the problems disabled children and young people are experiencing at school. “We need better teacher education and professional support for teachers and schools and resourcing that is calculated on proper data not guesstimates and under reporting” says teacher and parent Dr Bernadette Macartney.
On reviewing education policies presented by each political party in the lead up to the election we note only the Labour and Greens websites acknowledge Inclusive Education and outline measures to achieve an education system that will enable all students to participate and succeed, including disabled students. Our experience is that Labour, Greens and NZ First are keen to hear the voices of students, families, teachers and disabled people and recognise the need for systemic changes, Government accountability to the community and to our international human rights obligations. It is our expectation that the incoming government will acknowledge the crisis and take steps to resolve issues raised in the IHC complaint immediately.
Education For All (EFA) is a collaboration of disabled persons organisations, family and inclusive education organisations, teachers, and school principals, leaders, researchers and academics in inclusive education, and people from the employment and human rights sector committed to ensuring all students with disabilities are well educated in an inclusive education system.