Education should provide all children, including those with disabilities, with the opportunities to develop optimum levels of competence to be able to play a full part in their society, as well as to achieve their personal ambitions. However, the actual experience of education for many children is very different. Schools often fail to provide an effective learning environment. They are often authoritarian, poorly managed, inadequately resourced or offer a curriculum that is irrelevant to children’s lives. Many schools are too focused on testing and exams. Research evidence compiled by the Africa Child Policy Forum, a pan-African organisation, also paints a bleak picture as to the levels of violence perpetrated against children, particularly girls, both within schools and when travelling to school. Too often, children are beaten, threatened and humiliated by teachers. Girls may be sexually violated or faced with demands from teachers for sex in return for grades. Children cannot learn effectively in abusive environments (ACPF, 2001).

2.9 Creating the opportunities for development of children’s capacities