People with disabilities encounter several challenges in Burundi education

At a workshop on access to inclusive education for people living with disabilities, these latter say they are faced with social and school discrimination along with lack of materials and infrastructures in Burundi.

Moise Nkengurutse: “School discrimination can negatively impact upon the intellect of people with disabilities”

“We are sometimes frightened to death because of our skin color,” says Moise Nkengurutse, Chairman of the Burundian Organization of Albinos adding that they undergo the same discrimination at school.

He says albinos have sight problems which hinder them from taking well notes in class. “Some teachers do not understand that albinos have the sight and skin problems,” he adds.

Mr. Nkengurutse adds that school discrimination can negatively impact on the intellect of people with disabilities.

Daniel Ntiranyibagira, a blind student at Hope Africa University, says he has been discriminated both at home and school. “Teachers could harass me because I am blind,” he adds.

He says there is lack of braille, a system which helps blind people to read. “Using a computer is difficult for me. I would like to get tools which can help me in my studies,” he also says.

That blind student calls on the government to support inclusive education of people with disabilities.

“People with disabilities are faced with the problem of infrastructure which is not appropriate for them,” says Ildephonse Havyarimana, a man with disability and teacher of children with disabilities at Saint Kizito Institute in Bujumbura city.

He says some schools are built in floors and toilets are not appropriate for children with disabilities.

“Both parents and teachers should know how to treat children with disabilities accordingly,” he says adding that people with disabilities should not discriminate themselves.

He calls on the government to train teachers on how to treat and teach children with disabilities.

As for Ruben Karorero, Advisor in the Ministry of Education, Technical and Vocational Training, there are nine schools which are appropriate for people with disabilities. Some other twenty two schools can also host pupils and students with disabilities, he adds.

“The budget to support people with disabilities has increased from BIF45 million to BIF170 million,” he adds.

He says the ministry of education will ask the government to eliminate tax on all materials which can help pupils and students with disabilities.

Among 1400 students with disabilities who have gone to the post-basic school, only three have sat for the national exam.