Charity body wants equal opportunity for disadvantaged students

Updated: 2014-05-31 14:04

By Liu Zhihua (

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Actress Mei Ting has been named as the ambassador for inclusive education in China by Save the Children, one of the world’s major charities, just before Children’s Day falls on June 1.

Inclusive education means all students, including those who are physically or mentally disadvantaged, should have equal opportunity to participate and learn in same school. Experts say this measure is good for children’s overall development, and is already part of school education in many developed countries. However, China began contemplating it only recently, according to Xu Jiacheng, a special education teacher at Beijing Union University.

China has about 370,000 physically or mentally disadvantaged students, and more than half of them are in special education facilities, while in the United States, only 7 percent of its 5.79 million mentally and physically challenged students are in such facilities--- the rest are all in ordinary schools with other students, Xu added.

Besides, by the end of 2012, China had about 80,000 school-aged young children suffering from physical or mental problems, but about 30 percent of them were not able to attend any school, according the Wang Le, deputy representative with Save the Children’s China programs.

It is important that special children have equal rights to attend ordinary schools, as long as their physical and mental conditions enable them, Wang said.

The organization, together with another charity body Beijing One Plus One Disabled Person’s Cultural Development Center, has released a report on how media covers people who are physically challenged.

They said that media needs to improve reporting on inclusive education, both in terms of quality and quantity.