Lebanon's public education system discriminates against children with disabilities, Human Rights Watch said in a report today.
The 75-page report entitled "'I would Like to Go to School': Barriers to Education for Children with Disabilities in Lebanon" finds that public and private schools often deny admission to children with disabilities breaching laws against discrimination. As a result, children either end up receiving no education at all or attend institutions which are unauthorised to provide classes, the rights group warned.
"Discriminatory admissions practices are robbing Lebanese children with disabilities of an education," said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
Eighteen years after Lebanon passed a law ensuring children with disabilities could get an education, almost nothing has been done to make this a reality
Fakih said. "Lebanon should urgently end its dependence on institutions, and ensure that children with disabilities can get a quality education in a classroom alongside their peers."
The report states that in nearly all cases, schools lacked funding to provide sufficient staff and reasonable accommodation. Specialised schools too were found bereft of appropriate resources. Schools were also found to be charging the families of children with disabilities extra.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation and World Bank estimate that five per cent of people under age 14 has a disability, which would put a conservative estimate of the number of Lebanese children aged between five and 14 with a disability at 40,000.
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