Disabled kids less likely to go to school

Disabled pupil from Shutterstock
Disabled pupil from Shutterstock

Children are less likely to attend school if they suffer from a severe disability, statistician general Pali Lehohla said on Tuesday.

"Disability in a way does actually limit the possibility of people participating actively in things like education," Lehohla said in presenting Statistics SA's "Profile of Persons with Disabilities in South Africa Report" in Pretoria.

"Those who have difficulty, more severe difficulty, have the highest impairment from attending education... There is a very clear discrimination against those with disability, whether intended or not intended, as an outcome," he said.

Physically disabled most affected

Those with a physical disability are most affected.

The report found that in children aged five to six, school attendance was highest among those with no disability and lowest among those with severe difficulty walking, communicating and hearing.

Read: The realities of disability

More than a third of those with severe difficulty walking were not at school. Of these, 45.2 percent were coloured, 35 percent black, 29.1 percent white, and 24.6 percent Indian or Asian.

School non-attendance by five- to six-year-olds with severe functional disabilities was highest in farm areas.

At primary and high school levels, children with severe functional difficulties were the most marginalised, especially those with severe communication or walking difficulties.

Higher education also affected

Only a fifth of severely disabled people aged 20 to 24 attended university.

"Persons with severe difficulties had the worst educational outcomes: 5.3 percent had attained higher education; 23.8 percent had no formal education; and 24.6 percent had some primary education," StatsSA said in its report.

Read: Can extreme obesity be considered a disability?

Four times more whites with severe disabilities achieved a higher level of education than other population groups.

The findings were based on data from the 2011 census.

Read more:

My child can't read
Step up to protect the invisible children of South Africa
Coping with mental disability

Image: Disabled pupil from Shutterstock

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