Mauritius: The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) 2022 was celebrated today, at the State House in Réduit, at the initiative of the Office of the President, the Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Social Integration, Social Security and National Security, and the Special Education Needs Authority (SENA).
The President of the Republic of Mauritius, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun; the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun; the Special Education Needs (SEN) Patron and Spouse of the Prime Minister, Mrs Kobita Jugnauth, as well as other eminent personalities were present on occasion.
In his address, the President indicated that today’s celebrations had been organised to commemorate the IDPD 2022 under the United Nation’s theme “Transformative Solutions for Inclusive Development: The Role of Innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world”.
The priority of the Government, he underlined, is to include people with disabilities in all social activities and promote their participation in the development of our society. On this note, Mr Roopun lauded the initiatives of all stakeholders, such as the SENA, for their engagement towards disabled children.
Furthermore, the President dwelt on the importance of leaving no one behind in order to achieve an inclusive society, in particular, people with disabilities, who represent an ocean of treasure and can be a true guide to mankind. “We need to recognise the talents of these persons and reconsider our way of living by taking their courage to face life as a great example,” he pointed out.
President Roopun also commended the perseverance of persons with disabilities and reiterated that disability has never been a barrier to success. On this score, he referred to the outstanding sports achievements of Noemi Alphonse and the courage of Jane Constance, who has been designated as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Artist for Peace.
For her part, Vice-Prime Minister Dookun-Luchoomun highlighted that Government is working towards ensuring that all children, without exception, have the same opportunities to succeed in the education system. This, she underscored, is in line with the Sustainable Development Goal Four of the United Nations, which states the need for inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun indicated that it is with this objective that SEN schools were created under the supervision of the SENA, which ensures that children with special needs receive all the support they require together with a quality education.
“These can be achieved through the support given by the Government to the SENA, be it financial or educational,” she pointed out.
She further dwelt on some measures initiated by the Government to assist the SENA, including the provision of allowances to the tune of Rs 100,000 in order to assist children in SEN schools and loan facilities of Rs 100,000 for the upgrading and embellishment of the SEN school infrastructure.
She indicated that in a bid to ensure that all students are given the opportunity to embark on and complete higher secondary education for employability and further education and training, five scholarships had been allocated for SEN children adding that Holistic Educators have been recruited and trained to engage children in various academic and recreational activities.
She also thanked SEN Patron for her immense contribution to organising numerous initiatives and programmes undertaken by her Ministry as regards children with disabilities.
As for Mrs Kobita Jugnauth, she reiterated the importance of making the education system accessible to all children and making it one that is inclusive for all. The initiatives and measures being implemented by the Government in this context are vital for the success of these children, she pointed out.
She also emphasised the importance of being compassionate and full of love towards children with special needs and commended the parents and organisations who are striving hard to cater for the emotional needs of these children.