COVID-19 school measures cannot be at the expense of students with a disability
COVID-19 school measures cannot be provided at the expense of students with a disability or those requiring specific support, said CPRD Commissioner Oliver Scicluna.
The Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) has been notified that a number of teachers who provide specific services, such as teachers for the visually and hearing impaired, early intervention services, as well as other important services being provided by National School Support Services (NSSS), will stop providing such services due to COVID-19 operational and logistical matters.
The Commission has been informed that these teachers will instead be assisting the mainstream cohort due to having classes split up into bubbles which thus require more teachers.
“Whilst understanding and appreciating that the current situation requires extraordinary measures, it should not be at the detriment of students with a disability or those requiring specific support,” said the Commissioner.
“Such services cannot be viewed as secondary services but as essential mechanisms for particular students. In this regard, the Commission urges the responsible authorities to re-evaluate the situation to provide the necessary support to all of its students, as is their right.”
The Commission would like to draw the attention of the authorities NOT to include teachers who are providing the services within the NSSS in the equation, to mitigate the teacher shortage within mainstream schools.
CRPD is committed to rendering Maltese society an inclusive one, in a way that persons with disability reach their full potential in all aspects of life, enjoying a high quality of life thanks to equal opportunities.
In fulfilling this mission, CRPD works in order to eliminate any form of direct or indirect social discrimination against persons with disability and their families while providing them with the necessary assistance and support.