Parliament summons Janet over results of special needs children

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Thomas Tayebwa presiding over plenary on February 1, 2023. PHOTO/ DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • Children with special needs have their right to education enshrined in article 35 of the Constitution

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Thomas Tayebwa, yesterday summoned Education minister Janet Museveni to present a detailed statement on the poor performance of children with special needs in last year’s PLE results.
In the results, none of the 263 pupils who sat for Uganda National Examination Board (Uneb) examinations passed in Division One, raising allegations that the ministry is sleeping on the job.
Children with special needs have their right to education enshrined in article 35 of the Constitution.

The article in question states “(1) Persons with Disabilities have a right to respect and human dignity and the state and society shall take appropriate measures to ensure that they realise their full mental and physical potential. (2) Parliament shall enact laws appropriate for the protection of persons with disabilities’’.
Mr Tayebwa, who chaired the session, asked Ms Museveni to present a statement on what they are doing to address the situation.

“Children with special needs haven’t been given special attention and I would, therefore, request the Minister for Education to present to us a formal statement regarding the performance of students with disabilities,” Mr Tayebwa said.
Article 32 of the Constitution states that notwithstanding anything, the State shall take affirmative action in favour of groups marginalised on the basis of gender, age, disability, or any other reason created by history, tradition or custom, for the purpose of redressing imbalances, which exist against them.
Clause (2) says Parliament shall make relevant laws, including laws for establishing an equal opportunities commission, to give full effect to clause (1) of this article.

Education minister Janet Museveni. 

Mr Tayebwa said the State and society must take appropriate measures to ensure People with Disabilities (PWDs) realise their full mental and physical potential.
At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, schools took to online lessons while the government provided airtime on radio and television stations for lessons. However, these did not factor in PWDs. The Deputy Speaker said the initiative was unfair because it did not cater for disadvantaged people.

The results released by UNEB indicated that only 50 deaf pupils managed to achieve Division Two, 51 passed in Division Three, and 56 managed to pass in 4th Division.
Uneb said there were more special needs candidates who were partially blind, dyslexic, needed transcribers, and those who needed extra time, with 55 missing examinations.
Several legislators also voiced concerns and asked the Education ministry to pay special attention to the plight of children with special needs.