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Dec 3, 2019

Disability Week Promotes Equal Opportunities for all Including Persons with Disabilities

Persons with diverse abilities can be and very often are contributing and valued members of society. This week activities are being held to highlight that they too should have access to equal opportunities.  The Ministry of Education through the Education Support Unit is encouraging teachers, parents and all Belizeans to be more understanding of the challenges faced by persons with disabilities.  News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

This week is being recognized as Disability Week and the Ministry of Education, through its Education Support Services Unit is engaged in a two-day conference at the Radisson under the theme: “Inclusive Education; Embracing Diversity.” The idea is to ensure that all people in Belize, including those living with special needs, have equal opportunities for work, play, health, and success. So how can principal promote inclusion at schools?


Beatrice Geban

Beatrice Geban, Principal, Saint Mary’s Anglican Primary School

“Principals are at the helm of their institution. Instruction leaders have a mandate to ensure that within their institution there is equity, equality and relevance in addition, quality assurance as it pertains to the curriculum. In essence the role of the school leaders have change. Twenty-first century leaders have to be visionary individuals with thinking differently. As a leader, one of my mandate would be to advocate for policy, reform in legislation which is imperative for change. Lobbying for corporate sponsors to retrofit and redesign schools with special accommodations and modifications. Networking to provide professional development for teachers to bring awareness of differentiation, integration; modify assessments. There are many teachers who believe that children get one shot.”


But while the schools and teachers have to ensure that lessons taught are inclusive of those students with special needs, parents also have a role to play in their child’s development.


Herbert Arana Sr.

Herbert Arana Sr., Parent

“The first and most important thing we need to do is learn…for me, was to learn what type of disability my child has because in schools, a lot of teachers are not aware of these types of disabilities so it was imperative for me to know what type of disability it is, how the teachers can help and then me and my wife then goes to the teacher and try to help them out; inform them of the disability, advise them of how to deal with certain issues with the child, explain to them what to expect. And once they are aware, life becomes a lot easier for us.”


While there has been some progress in getting persons with diverse abilities accepted into the workplace, it has been a challenge. Some businesses are concerned about the liability while others have made the necessary modifications to accommodate. Among those businesses is Fultec Systems. Gabriel Alpuche spoke about his experience.


Gabriel Alpuche

Gabriel Alpuche, Employee, Fultec Systems

“I got responses from about five places saying that they would accept me. Those places were Fultec Systems, B.T.L.—all the big companies—B.E.L., B.W.S.  But majority of the responses were that yes I have the knowledge and the abilities, but they don’t have the amenities and they don’t want to take on the liability of dealing with someone with a disability, which I could have understood then. Being at Fultec Systems, the love, the change, the inclusion that is there, my team, management has shown me that there are people who still care, there are people who still would look at the abilities rather than the disabilities.”


Duane Moody for News Five.


The week of activities will culminate with an awareness parade and the annual Special Olympics Games at the Marion Jones Stadium on December sixth, 2019.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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