In Madagascar, disability is not a barrier to education


Aubry Razanakoto
Fitiavana, en bleu, obtenant tout le soutien de son enseignante
UNICEF Madagascar/2022
24 May 2022

At his primary school in Mahajanga, in northwest Madagascar, Fitiavana, 10, is now able to access a quality education, with the support of his teacher, Ranjaharisoa Randimbizakanirina.

It wasn’t always the case. Fitiavana and Ranjaharisoa have faced many constraints in finding the right approach. "Fitiavana lives with a motor disability. He struggles to walk without leaning on his classmates. His hands shake a lot when he writes. He has to make a lot of effort to speak,” says Ranjaharisoa. This impacts the entire class because it is often difficult to complete the school program on time and to deal with the often harsh comments of his classmates.

"Fitiavana is a diligent student, but learning is a challenge,” says the teacher. The implementation of an inclusive education policy is one of the solutions deployed to deal with students with additional needs. To support this, UNICEF is investing in inclusive education training for teachers, with the aid of the Hempel Foundation.

In July 2021, Ranjaharisoa was among the 267 teachers trained to provide support and assistance to children like Fitiavana. The modules of the inclusive education program and the Personalized Schooling Project allowed her to acquire knowledge to better support Fitiavana’s education needs. "I made the other children aware of his situation so they he would be accepted into the class. He has been provided with a cane so he can walk unassisted, and he sits next to an older child and closer to the blackboard to better follow the lessons. His parents are also involved. The oral lessons will be transcribed into writing, and he does the revisions at home, at his own pace," says Ranjaharisoa. For Fitiavana and other children living with a disability in Madagascar, access to an inclusive education is increasingly becoming a reality.