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Thaboshi Inclusive Botswana > Front page > Uncategorized > HOW TO INCREASE ACCESS NOW AND BEYOND COVID-19
  • Posted by: Shirley Nkepe

THERE are two types of ‘access’.  The first access refers to the ability or right to enter a place. For instance, to enter a school, clinic or a prison. The second access means the ability to benefit from whatever service offered in the place.

ACCORDING to the Collins COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers, (URL https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/access), accessed on the 3May, 2020: 1420; the term ‘access’ has two phases. The first phase is that of a noun, and the second phase is of a verb.

AS a noun, ‘access’ means:

  • To be allowed to enter a place or facility;
  • opportunity to see and use the information,
  •  the opportunity to see, meet or talk to a person.

AS a verb, ‘access’ means to:

  • succeed in finding or obtaining that which you wanted to find in whatever place, facility or gadget (e.g. computer) that you accessed.
  • The synonyms of this access include: to get, acquire, and obtain, among others.

FROM the above explanations, we see that access (noun) does not guarantee access (verb).  A considerable number of people with disabilities and special needs have got access 1 (the noun) but not access 2 (the verb). This is to say that several of them (as is the case in many nations) maybe able to enter the buildings, facilities and others, but very few are able to obtain or acquire that which they seek.

TAKE for example, the education sector- In Botswana, according to the Education Statistics Report of 2014 (S. Botswana, 2019a) enrolment of learners with special educational needs and disabilities at primary school levels increased from 3413 in 2008; 7305 in 2012 and 8570 in 2013 and 10810 in 2014. As for secondary school level, there was no data for 2007, 2009 and 2010 and 2011, except for 2,498 in 2008.

THE report attributed the lack of data and the disparity on the number of learners from primary to secondary education to lack of policy on inclusion as well as the exclusion of some of types of special needs categories like epilepsy and visual impairment from the prior categorisations. However, the disparity between the primary and secondary education enrolment for learners with special needs (especially with reference to the Primary School Leaving examination results for the same learners), could be an indication that learners with special needs do not have adequate access 2 to education. This is to say that most of them attend school, but few benefit from attending school.

WE at Thabo-Shi believe inclusion. We believe in the current agenda, that the system/s must adapt to the needs of people with disabilities and special needs. We know that with COVID-19 here now, people with disability and special needs are more likely to be forgotten. This is why we provide the means (see http://thaboshi.co.bw/our-services/) for inclusion, safety and wellness.

We help individuals, or groups of people to reach both access (noun) and access (verb), among others. Our outcome-based interventions are individualized to meet each person and each organization’s needs. To us ALL LIVES MATTER – with or without a disability. We are open to partnerships or any other engagement, for either one or both of access 1 and access 2, so that “Everyone is Included”.

Author: Shirley Nkepe

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