Published: 2018-09-22 09:04
Last Updated: 2018-09-22 09:36
Four-and-a-half-year-old child Ruwaid was the talk of Jordanian social media on Friday, after his mum revealed that he has been rejected from private schools in Zarqa due to his disability.
Ruwaid’s mother told Roya that “private schools refused to enrol my child because he is disabled, and because they said he would scare the other kids in his classroom.”
The distressed mother explained that the headmistress at the kindergarten her son was attending told her that she was “forced not to let him continue on to first grade, seeing as some of the parents did not wish to have Ruwaid amongst their children, as his physical appearance would cause them great fear.”
Ruwaid’s doting mother visited the Ministry of Education's Zarqa branch seeking help, however, she was told that “private school owners have the right to accept and reject students as they please.”
The Minister of Education, Azmi Mahafzah, tweeted in response to the trending topic, saying:
حق رويد بالتعليم حق مقدس ووزارة التربية والتعليم مسؤولة عن تأمين قبوله في المدرسة التي يختارها خاصة كانت او حكومية انسجاما مع سياستها بتبني التعليم الدامج— Azmi Mahafzah (@mahafzaa) September 21, 2018
“Ruwaid's right to education is a sacred right and the Ministry of Education is responsible for ensuring that he is accepted in a school of his choice, be it public or private.”
According to Article 20 of the Jordanian Constitution, primary education is compulsory for all. However, the percentage of children with special needs in schools remains low.
Jordan has several specialized centres and schools for children with disabilities, such as the Al-Masar Development Services, which is “a unique institution in the Middle East as it pioneers in providing children with special needs with individualized and comprehensive educational and therapeutic services under one roof.”
The Higher Council for Affairs of Persons with Disabilities works tirelessly to ensure that children, especially those with disabilities, are not excluded from the educational system.
The Council believes that including disabled children in the educational system “changes misconceptions about them and instills the concept of acceptance of difference among their peers without disabilities.”
Private and public schools are educators on life skills and well as traditional subjects like maths and science, therefore, it is their duty to be inclusive of all children and to teach our little ones how to be accepting of one another, instead of increasing the stigma attached to disability.
A full report on Ruwaid’s case will be shown during Roya TV’s 7:30pm news bulletin on Saturday.