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Programme coming to make schools more accessible to the disabled

Published:Friday | December 2, 2016 | 4:08 PM

Education Minister Ruel Reid says he will soon announce a "comprehensive programme" to modify public schools to make them accessible to students with disabilities.

He made the disclosure this morning in the Senate while responding to questions from Opposition Senator Floyd Morris.

Morris, who is blind, was questioning Reid based on earlier responses on the number of children with disabilities on the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) and their access to education.

Some 14, 239 children with disabilities are on PATH. The adult population stands at 7,112.

The education minister's data also showed that 3,284 children are attending primary or secondary schools that provide access for people with disabilities.

However, Morris argued that based on the information, most schools providing access only had ramps.

He said this is not sufficient to accommodate children with disabilities.

The education minister said the ministry will be doing further research on the issue but will also present "in short order", a programme to help schools put in place systems to bring them in line with international standards.

He told a probing Morris that only the finance minister could speak on any budgetary allocations for the next financial year.

Of the 764 public primary schools, only 127 provide 'access' for students with disabilities.

Three thousand two-hundred and thirteen students attend those institutions.

Meanwhile, only 33 of the 176 high schools are said to be provide access.

Those schools have 71 students on their enrolment.

An additional 3,194 children with disabilities attend special education schools supported by the Government.

PATH payout to persons with disabilities is at $33.3 million this year or about four per cent of the overall PATH budget.

There are 305,564 individuals on PATH.