We thank the Western Cape Forum for Intellectual Disability for sharing a progress report with us on steps that have been taken by Western Cape Education Department pursuant to a judgment handed down by the Western Cape High Court ordering action to realise the right of all children with severe disabilities to affordable, quality basic education.
The Department has, inter alia:
- Increased the per child subsidy for children with severe disabilities attending centres by 68% to R 900 per child per month.
- Arranged support for all special care centres by the Grassroots Education Trust. All special care centres will be contacted by the Trust and offered an opportunity to participate in the Expanded Public Works Programme run by the Department of Social Development from June to October 2012, in terms of which three youth Care Assistants will be trained and employed in exchange for a stipend.
- Therapeutic “Inclusive Education Teams for the Profoundly Disabled” will provide support to Special Care Centres in the province. The initial team, which is based at the Mary Harding School, consists of an educational psychologist, physiotherapists, learning support teacher, occupational therapist, and a speech and language therapist. The pilot team has been visiting centres across the province and has identified priority areas where centres need support, including assessment and possible placement, devising individual support plans for each child; development of a training programme; and refinement of job descriptions. The Department aims to have three more teams operational in the third term of 2012.
- A financial allocation has been made to assist with transport as an interim measure to comply with the judgements requirement that the Department provide transport for learners.
- Discussions are under way to look at staff development and career plans.