Provisions on Accessibility, Education, Training

This week we continue looking at the provisions under Part III, which underscores on the rights of persons with disabilities and places obligations on Government and other stakeholders to ensure that those rights are enjoyed by persons with disabilities. 

Article 27 provides for Denial of access. Sub-section (1) stipulates that any person with disability who is denied admission into any premises or the provision of any service or amenity in terms of this section shall be deemed to have suffered an injury and shall have the right to recover damages in any court of competent jurisdiction.

Article 28 provides for Education and training and the Bill acknowledges, in sub-section (1), that Government recognizes the right of persons with disabilities to education without discrimination on the basis of equal opportunity, and ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning. In particular, Government shall (a) ensure that persons with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system at all levels, and have access to quality and compulsory primary education; and (b) take into consideration the special  requirements of persons with disabilities in the formulation of educational policies and programs including assistive devices, teaching aids and learning support assistants. 

Under Sub-section (2), Government shall provide financial assistance to economically needy and deserving students with disabilities pursuing secondary and tertiary education in the form of scholarship grants, student loan programmes, subsidies, and other incentives in public institutions and ensure that a minimum of ten per cent of the allocation for students’ financial assistance programmes as created by the local government is set aside for students with disabilities. No learning or training institution shall deny persons with disabilities admission, expel, discipline, segregate, deny participation  in any event or activity, or deny any benefits or services to any person on the basis of disability.        

The Bill also stipulates that Government recognises the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others; this includes the right to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities. Government shall safeguard and promote the realization of the right to work, including for those who acquire a disability during the course of employment.

In particular, Government shall (a) prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability with regard to all matters concerning all forms of employment, including conditions of recruitment, hiring and  restructuring employment, continuance of employment, career advancement and safe and healthy working conditions; (b) ensure that persons with disabilities have access to just and favourable conditions of work, including equal opportunities and equal remuneration for work of equal value, safe and healthy working conditions, including protection from harassment, and the redress of grievances; and (c)  enable persons with disabilities to have effective access to general technical and vocational guidance programmes, placement services and vocational and continuing training.