A CROSS section of education stakeholders and rights groups have nodded on President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s directives to redirect 960m/- initially allocated for Uhuru Day Celebrations towards construction of eight schools’ dormitories admitting students with special needs.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily News, the stakeholders applauded the initiative, citing it as a commendable gesture in ensuring access to quality education as slated in the global Sustainable Development Goals with the aim of leaving no one behind.

According to them, the move will help lift the country’s education sector while ensuring every child, including those with various disabilities gain their right to quality education which in turn will contribute to socio-economic development of the country.

An Education Expert with the Tanzania Education Network (TenMet), Mr Nicodemus Shauri was of the view that every person in support of development is quite moved with the President’s decision to redirect the funds.

“While it’s true that commemorating our independence is important, but education is also important…President Samia is a mother who is pained by any turmoil facing her children,” said Mr Shauri.

He noted that the initiative will create a conducive learning environment for children with special needs, because their performance will also improve.

The Secretary General of the Confederation of People with Disabilities (SHIVYAWATA), Mr Jonas Lubago disclosed that the move has come at the right time when school going children with disabilities face a myriad of challenges.

“Based on our conditions, to some, the issue of distance is a major challenge…the move guarantees our children of access to education as they will be well settled at school and have access to basic needs,” he said, indicating that majority of the children had not been enrolled to school due to their mobility challenges among others.

Mr Lubago cited the problem of stigma among the society as an impediment to children with disabilities to attend schools, noting that with development most of them are assured of a friendly environment for learning.

For her part, Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA)-Zanzibar Director, Dr Mzuri Issa disclosed that the initiative was good as it will give room for further strategic intervention from both the public and private sector.

“This is a very good start…people with special needs face a number of challenges. In future we will need a contingency and concise plan to deal with the problem on their end,” she indicated.

The Chairperson of Tanzania League of Blind, Mr Omari Mpondelwa supported the accolades, noting that the era of science and technology has improved the various learning tools for people with disabilities which are very expensive.

As such, he called upon other stakeholders, including the private sector to support the president’s endeavor by investing in the right infrastructure which will support learning for people with special needs while at school.

“The President has shown her love for the group, let’s all join forces to support her, this will yield more productivity,” he said.

On the other hand, the Chairperson for the Tanzania Association of Managers and Owners of Non-Government Schools and Colleges (TAMANGSCO), Mr Benjamin Nkonya applauded the President’s political will to invest on the education of the group with special needs.

Similarly, a seasoned economist-cum-banker, Dr Hilderbrand  Shayo, commended the initiative while suggesting that the government should rethink putting up the said supportive infrastructure in ordinary schools.

According to Dr Shayo, the move will enable children with special needs to mix with their counterparts, thereby reducing stigma and psychological concerns among the groups.

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