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Education reforms a step forward for disability inclusion

Graphic: Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero

Inclusive education requires appropriate services and supports, as well as a positive attitude among teachers, school leaders and the community.

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero has described a government commitment to supporting schools be more responsive to disabled learners as a "crucial step towards New Zealand achieving a world-class inclusive public education system".

"I and others in the disability community have spent many years advocating for these sorts of changes," Ms Tesoriero said.

"I am thrilled to see references to world class inclusive public education in the Supporting All Schools to Succeed document but this cannot be achieved without the meaningful partnership of disabled people and decision makers."

Ms Tesoriero said while inclusion involved having appropriate services and supports, it was also about the attitude and confidence of teachers, school leaders and the school community.

"It is about the bedrock legislation and structures and training that underpin everything," Ms Tesoriero said. "It is about the whole system working together and having the right accountability mechanisms in place.

"It will be important to see how all aspects of education reform join up in a cohesive bigger picture to achieve this," she added.

Ms Tesoriero said she would continue to advocate for an explicit commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to be built into all new education legislation.

"I look forward to working with Government and the community on the next steps for this vital work," she said.

Date: 12 November 2019

Source: New Zealand Human Rights Commission

Image credits

  1. Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero - New Zealand Human Rights Commission