Macau | Local parents and schools’ attitude towards people with disabilities hindering inclusive education – Bishop

Macau (MNA) – The Macau SAR Bishop, Stephen Lee Bun Sang, said to Macau News Agency (MNA) this Monday that there are still serious challenges with regard to inclusion in the region, mainly related to culture and the attitudes of parents towards disabilities.

The Bishop made the comments on the sidelines of the conference Inclusive Education, Sports & Social Media being held at MGM Cotai from April 16 to April 20 by the Charity Association of Macau Business Readers.

The local Catholic authority considered the views towards the inclusion of people with disabilities in education in Macau and Hong Kong are similar, with parents and society “now knowing much” about the issue, although he believes that “we have to do something since everybody, including anyone with disabilities, is valuable.”

“In Asian and Chinese culture, the parents don’t admit that their children are disabled in any way or another. Sometimes, they even hide them and do not allow their children to get tested, for example,” the Bishop stated. “They don’t know that the earlier they discover it, the better integration or treatment they can have. How to convince the parents to face and then to join in the programme is one of the obstacles.”

Another issue Bishop Lee mentioned include some prestigious Asian schools avoiding to implement inclusive education out of fear this would somehow “lower their standards” and reducing their possibilities to “attract better students.”

Therefore, the Bishop noted the Church in the MSAR is trying to lead the way in terms of inclusive education for people who suffer from disabilities and in informing people of such issues.

“Diocesan schools take the lead, we open up and collaborate with the government for this inclusive education. Secondly, we try to educate people about these being basic human rights, since we believe that God created everyone the same, and with the same values and dignity. It’s a way to live in harmony and through these two ways we can breakthrough a bit,” he argued.

[Edited by Sheyla Zandonai]