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PACIFIC EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK VISION IMPAIRMENT (PEDF –VI 2011-2015) Presented by Dr Kevin Murfitt, Pacific Regional Chair, World Blind Union Paul Manning, Executive Officer, Parents of Vision Impaired NZ Inc/ICEVI • The PEDF-VI reflects the views of participants of the Pacific EFA – VI Forum, held in Sydney on the 13 14 January 2011. • The report was compiled by: Mr Arthuson Albert, Ms Elsie Taloafiri and Mrs Frances Gentle. The draft report was then distributed to all participants to ensure that the contents reflect the views expressed at the “Forum”. • Participants from the following countries attended the Forum: - Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, Kiribati, Nauru Island, Palau Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Australia and New Zealand • Forum participants included 24 representatives of national education and health ministries/departments and organisations of people with disabilities (DPOs) from ten Pacific Island countries, and representatives of regional organisations. Forum Sponsors • The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) • Vision Australia (VA) • Australian Government AusAID • International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI) • World Blind Union (WBU) • Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) • Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and the • South Pacific Educators in Vision Impairment (SPEVI) A global snap-shot. • The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates there are 285 million people world-wide with vision impairments, including approximately 40 million people with severe vision impairment and blindness. • The WHO estimates there are 1.4 million children under the age of 15 who are blind and an additional 12 million children with eye conditions that could be corrected through the provision of spectacles (near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism) • The risk of blindness is five to 10 times greater in developing countries than in industrialised countries, and around 87% of people with vision impairments live in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific Region (Braille Without Borders, 2010; World Health Organisation, 2011). • It is estimated that only 10% of school-age children with vision impairments attend school (Braille Without Borders, 2010; Vision2020 Australia, 2011). A Pacific Regional snap-shot. • Research in Pacific Island countries has shown that the major vision impairments are cataract, diabetic eye disease, refractive error, trachoma, and trauma (Keeffe, Konyama, and Taylor, 2002). • It is difficult to gain an accurate understanding of the number of preschool and school-age children with vision impairments in the Pacific region as population-based data on the prevalence and causes of childhood vision impairment in the Pacific Region are limited (Gilbert, Anderton, Dandona, & Foster, 1999). • Regional governments tend to rely on school and clinic surveys to determine the number of children with low vision and blindness. • Sadly, these surveys generally understate the number of children as school attendance rates for children with vision impairments are low due to school enrolment policies and clinic surveys generally do not include questions about the low vision (Keeffe, Konyama, and Taylor, 2002). EFA-VI: Education For All an ICEVI and WBU initiative • The campaign is titled “Education for All Children with Visual Impairment” (EFA-VI) and its major goal is to “ensure that all girls and boys with blindness and low vision enjoy the right to education” (ICEVI, 2011). • The four measures of success of the EFA-VI campaign are: - • Increased enrolment rates, • Reduced dropout rates, • Improved access to support services, and • Educational achievement for children with vision impairment, on par with non-disabled children. • Progress to date has included implementation of the EFA-VI global campaign in 12 focus countries across the seven global regions of ICEVI, including China, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Nepal and Fiji. Fiji EFA-VI campaign • Fiji was selected as the first focus EFA-VI country in the Pacific region. Fiji is well respected within the Region and Internationally for its provision of educational opportunities for children with vision impairments. • Established organisations include the Fiji School for the Blind, the Fiji Society for the Blind, United Blind Persons of Fiji, and the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons. • During 2008, a series of Fiji-based meetings and forums culminated in the establishment of the Fiji National EFA-VI Task Force and development of the Fiji EFA-VI National Plan for 2009-2011. • EFA-VI task force members include education, health, and rehabilitation leaders, practitioners, parents, and organisations of persons with disabilities in Fiji who work to promote and support the quality of life of children and adults with disabilities, including those with vision impairments. The Fiji EFA-VI goals achieved during 2009 and 2010 included: - 1: Establishment of a braille production centre at the Fiji Society for the Blind 2: Expansion of the Suva parent group to a National Parent Support Group 3: Delivery of professional training programs in the areas of early care and childhood education (ECCE) for young children with vision impairments, inclusive education for students with vision impairments, Unified English braille code, and education of children with vision impairments and additional/multiple disabilities (MDVI). Development of the PEDF-VI: 2011-2015 • The major outcome of the Forum was the development of a set of Pacific Island priorities for education of children with vision impairments in the ten Pacific Island countries represented at the Forum. • The Pacific EFA-VI Forum outcomes document is titled “Pacific Education Development Framework - Vision Impairment 2011-2015 (PEDF-VI)” to reflect its alignment with the Pacific Education Development Framework (PEDF) for 2009-2015 (Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, 2009). • And the PEDF, just presented by Filipe Jitoko., drawing out the cross-cutting issue of disability in the document Pacific Education Development Framework - Vision Impairment, 2011-2015 continued • In developing the PEDF-VI priorities, Forum participants discussed approaches to education of children with disabilities in Pacific Island countries. • The participants considered the education implications of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities United Nations, 2006) in relation to the rights of children with vision impairments and their families. • The Pacific Regional Strategy on Disability 2010-2015 (Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, 2009) Implementation of the PEDF-VI • The Pacific EFA-VI Forum participants are committed to promoting the implementation of the PEDF-VI in their home countries and within their organisations. • Their efforts will be complemented by the efforts of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) • The Pacific Disability Forum • Other regional bodies working to promote the rights of children with disabilities, including the right to education. • Implementation of the PEDF-VI is aligned with and will compliment the implementation of the PEDF. PEDF-VI Vision: - Quality education for all children, including children with vision impairments in Pacific Island countries. Mission: - To enable each Pacific learner, including each learner with vision impairment to develop all his/her talents and creativities to the full and thereby enabling each person to take responsibility for his/her own life and make a meaningful contribution to the social, cultural and economic development of Pacific society. Alignment with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) • The PEDF-VI is also aligned with the general principles and articles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (United Nations, 2006), in particular the following sections of Article 24 that have relevance to the educational rights of children and adults with vision impairments: CRPD Alignment: - Article 24: Education • People with disability have a right to education, like other people do. Countries are to make sure that their general education systems include people with disability at all levels and aim to allow the full development of a person’s potential. To do that, countries are to make sure that: 1: Schools make some changes to accommodate for students with disability; and 2: People with disability get the support they need in the general education system, or 3: People with disability have access to special support in specialised schools that help them get the most out of their education and learn other life skills. CRPD Alignment continued • Countries are to help people with disability learn life and social skills. This includes taking appropriate steps to: • make it possible for people with disability to learn other types of communication, such as sign languages and Braille, and skills that will help them move around freely • arrange for people to support and mentor them • make sure that students who are blind, deaf or deaf/blind are taught in the types of communication they can understand (United Nations, 2006). Major Action Themes from Participants • Early care and childhood education:- such as to establish vision screening • Children with vision impairments have free and high quality formal school education (primary and secondary):- such as ensuring that national data shows progress and inclusive education outcomes Major Action Themes cont. • By 2015, students with VI will have access to vocational and tech training with inclusive programs and services • Non-Formal Education:- clear information and encouragement given to parents to understand their childrens’ rights for barrier-free learning environments • In-service and pre-service education of teachers; and enhancing the teaching profession:-all teachers and related service providers will have awareness and basic understanding of individuals with disability including VI; and will accept responsibility for educating them with support from other appropriate programs or agencies. LAUNCH!
"PACIFIC EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK – VISION IMPAIRMENT _PEDF "