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IEAG supports IHC discrimination complaint

Inclusive Education Action Group

MEDIA RELEASE

IEAG supports IHC discrimination complaint

The Inclusive Education Action Group (IEAG) strongly supports IHC's complaint with the Human Rights Commission against government policies and practices that prevent disabled students participating fully at their local school.

Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the Education Act 1989 which extended to disabled students the same rights to enrol and receive education in state schools as non-disabled students.

However, 20 years on, government policy and practice has failed to ensure that disabled students can take up their rightful place in their local school alongside their non-disabled peers in the regular classroom.

Because of inadequate resourcing, lack of professional development, and other systemic constraints many disabled students still face routine discrimination. Disabled students are frequently denied enrolment, or accepted at schools only under conditional arrangements such as limited attendance or where parents "top up" teacher aide funding.

Too often disabled students receive education only in segregated settings with other disabled students, almost never joining with their non-disabled peers. This is in spite of wider government policy such as the New Zealand Disability Strategy which promises to highly value the lives of disabled people and continually enhance their full participation in an inclusive society.

Such segregation is also contrary to research and evidence which clearly shows that disabled students achieve significantly better social and educational outcomes in inclusive, rather than segregated, settings.

The Inclusive Education Action Group looks forward to a positive government response to the IHC complaint and a willingness to work with the education sector and the community to achieve the vision of Special Education 2000 a world-class inclusive education system.

ENDS

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