By Sukuoluhle Ndlovu
Learners with disabilities have been greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic which has posed many challenges for them like the struggle to access education facilities.
Online learning is now the norm as schools have remained closed in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Government on Tuesday announced a further delay in the reopening of schools which were set for opening on the 28th of June.
Little attention has been paid to learners with disabilities who face physical and financial problems which government has since been urged to address.
The civil rights law prohibits discrimination against People with Disabilities in all areas of public life to ensure that PwDs have the same access and availability to resources as anyone else.
In an interview with Bustop TV, Henry Murray Hugo (Copota) School Headmaster, Clever Madzokere said they are facing technical challenges at the institution.
“We are facing a number of challenges and our learners are being left behind. We do not have the required equipment and also internet access is a challenge for us. Our children do need support as well.
“The Covid -19 pandemic has led to the closure of schools, we have a lot of students who have different disabilities and because of online learning there is now discrimination as those without disabilities are the ones who can access online education.
“The government must intervene and make sure online learning becomes accessible for all and provide them with all the required materials for them to be able to learn just like any other pupil in the country,” said Madzokere.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president, Dr Takavafira Zhou called on government to and various organisations to lend a hand and help disabled learners access online education.
Henry Chivhanga the Director of the Disability Amalgamation Community Trust said on top of the myriad of challenges learners with disabilities are already facing there are power cuts and no electricity in the rural areas where internet connectivity is also very poor.
“There is no way a blind pupil can learn online as there is no option for Braille learning.
“The government must do something for us and make education accessible for all so that there are no gaps between those with disabilities and those who do not,” he said.