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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 January 16 - 22  > Teachers strive to defend disabled children’s right to learn
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2013 January 16 - 22 [EDUCATION]

Teachers strive to defend disabled children’s right to learn

January 18, 2013
Amid a rapid increase in students, public schools for children with disabilities suffer from classroom shortage. Some have to divide one classroom into two with curtains or use the library to hold classes.

This was reported at a national meeting on education for disabled children held from January 12 to 14 in Saitama City. It was hosted by the All Japan Teachers and Staff Union (Zenkyo) for teachers and researchers to discuss ways to defend disabled students’ right to learn.

Other serious conditions in education for children with special needs reported at the meeting include: lack of teachers such as one school in Saitama Prefecture where 35% of teachers are part-time workers; students have to stand in line in front of toilets during breaks because installing additional toilets cannot keep up with the rise in enrollment.

In Kanagawa Prefecture, the number of students at schools for disabled children in 2011 reached 1.8 times more than that in 1999. While the prefecture built six additional schools, 687 students still have to take classes at 20 distant locations, which are empty classrooms at prefectural high schools.

Such overcrowded conditions have been left untouched because, unlike other types of educational institutions, schools for disabled children have no standards for their establishment set by the government, said Hijikata Isao, representing Zenkyo’s section on education for children with special needs. He stated:

The education ministry has stated that it is “difficult to set unified standards” for special schools since “necessary school facilities and equipment vary in accordance with enrolled students’ level of disabilities.”

At the end of last year, teachers got together despite their different union affiliations, collected more than 50,000 signatures, and made representations to the education ministry, demanding that the government create standards for establishment of schools for disabled children. We want to invite more parents and residents and develop this movement further.
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