The new SUHAKAM report aims to increase the number of children with learning disabilities receiving inclusive and quality primary education by raising awareness of the challenges they experience in this regard, and identifying the gaps in information about education for these children. It is also designed to help build connections between government agencies and civil society to promote more participatory, transparent and accountable education policy. The document examines challenges to realizing the right to education for children with learning disabilities, including logistical difficulties in accessing learning facilities, inconsistent implementation of screening and assessment processes, the lack of adequate funding for programs, and the lack of adequate support in learning institutions. It also makes recommendations aimed at helping the government effectively improve access to education for this community.
SUHAKAM’s research utilizes the four-step OPERA Framework for uncovering patterns of socio-economic rights deprivation and linking these deprivations to weaknesses in design or implementation of government policies. The analysis builds on a series of workshops in which SUHAKAM’s staff was introduced to OPERA’s tools, including the identification of indicators and benchmarks, gathering primary and secondary data, and analyzing budgets. Researchers at SUHAKAM deployed OPERA to clearly articulate the government’s legal obligations and to examine the current challenges that exist in realizing the right to education for children with learning disabilities. The project was spurred by concerns that a large number of children with learning disabilities appear to be excluded from primary education, while little accurate data is readily available in this regard.
A recurrent theme in the report is the need for the government to gather and make available accurate disaggregated data on children with learning disabilities, along with related budgetary information. The report therefore recommends that the government collect such data and statistics on access to education among children with learning disabilities, at both the primary and secondary levels, and that the collection of this data be systematized and shared among all relevant government agencies.