The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the vulnerabilities of children with disabilities, observers say.
This comes as education experts across the continent continue to assess the impact of the pandemic on the education sector, with a focus on special education.
Special education is the practice of educating students in way that provides accomodations that address their individual differences.
Earlier this week, a panel of experts from Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe held a virtual conference, which highlighted that Covid-19 has had a serious and direct impact on the education sector.
During serious waves of Covid-19 infections, schools have been closed for extended periods.
Said human rights lawyer, Mr Daniel Molokele:
“Children with disability were affected with increased risk of school violence and bullying, preventing the safe enjoyment of their right to education.”
It was also observed that Covid-19 had reduced physical activity in schools and increased exposure to domestic violence and self-harm for children with disabilities.
Dr Mercy Mugambi, a lecturer at the University of Nairobi, said:
“Governments should identify and urgently address the learning gap in support for early years, and work to undertake and implement necessary arrangements for exams to prevent students experiencing lost learning due to school closures, from being unfairly disadvantaged.”
She added that there is need to conduct national reviews of the experience of providing online learning during the pandemic to identify key challenges and opportunities, and develop plans for a more resilient future.
Dr Mugambi also said Governments should provide pupils with a re-adjustment period that will enable them to gradually transition back to learning, while avoiding any undue pressure.