The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania (2017) as amended in 2005 provides for the right to education up to the highest level according to one’s merits and ability.
It also provides for a person’s protection and equality before the law without any discrimination on the basis of nationality, tribe, place of origin, political opinion, colour, religion, sex or station in life or disability.
The Law of the Child Act, 2019 in particular provides for children’s rights, including the right to education.
It requires parents, guardians or any other person having custody of a child to ensure he or she gets food, shelter, clothing, medical care, including immunisation, education and guidance, liberty and the right to play and leisure.
In light of this, all Tanzanian children are entitled to equal rights simply by virtue of being humans and none is to be discriminated against for any reason whatsoever.
Speaking in Moshi, Kilimanjaro Region, on Friday, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa on behalf of President John Magufuli warned parents and guardians against denying disabled children the right to education.
He was speaking during the launch of St Pamachius Inclusive School, which provides secondary education to children with disabilities. As the Prime Minister said, children with disabilities shouldn’t be hidden indoors because of their disabilities.
After all, we have seen some people, who are willing to help some of them especially the most challenged ones even if parents or guardians have no wherewithal to help them pursue further education.
But at least, all children, including those with disabilities, can access primary and secondary education up to Form Four free of charge. This is the stand of the fifth phase government.
With this in mind, and as the Prime Minister put it, there is no reason to deprive any disabled child of education. If we do, it is unfair. It is true disabled children face multiple challenges because of their physical condition.
This calls for all of us to consider them and, indeed, all people with disabilities as fully human beings endowed with rational faculties and dignity as any other human being.
This may take time, but we have to make effort and ensure all children irrespective of their physical conditions have equal education rights and shouldn’t be kept indoors while others are sent to school.
This means more public awareness programmes are needed so that parents, guardians or any other person entrusted to take care of disabled children treat them as they do to other children without disabilities. Let’s take care!.