Disability Pride Week – Celebrating the contributions of disabled students

Issue: Volume 98, Number 16

Posted: 12 September 2019
Reference #: 1H9yYv

The theme for Disability Pride Week, which runs 16-22 September, is ‘Setting the Agenda’, recognising that it is important for disabled people to have autonomy over their lives, just like other New Zealanders.

Disabled people want to live in an Aotearoa New Zealand where they can be proud of themselves and our country’s moves towards full inclusion. 

Part of this is seeing disability as a valuable form of diversity and something to proud of. A good place to start is knowing that New Zealand led the development of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

It can be hard to feel proud, though, when you know that you are much less likely to be employed and when social messages reinforce that you are either inspirational for just doing everyday things or that you should be pitied just for being you. 

Celebrating self

Disability Pride Week seeks to change this by giving disabled people a chance to celebrate being who they are through activities which share their creativity. It also gives non-disabled people a chance to celebrate the value that disabled people they know bring to their lives. 

Education is an important issue for disabled people because it is through a successful education that they gain academic skills and, just as importantly, social skills and resilience for the rest of their lives 

Contributing to the education conversation

The Kōrero Mātauranga|Education Conversation is an important way in which the Government sought to enable New Zealanders to “set the agenda” about what a future education system could look like. Over 43,000 New Zealanders responded in various ways. 

Disabled New Zealanders were no exception, with over 1,200 responding to the online survey supporting Kōrero Mātauranga. You can read some of what people said on the page opposite. 

Focus on equity

Disabled students, like other New Zealanders, value a focus on their wellbeing and learning which focuses on their strengths. Equity is considered as being particularly important. This means that students should have equitable access to all education, future opportunities and successful outcomes in school and life and should be supported to do so regardless of circumstances. 

“Teachers misinterpret what it means to be successful. They mark success with a grade. A successful [person] is not exactly someone who is the smartest person but someone who puts in the hard work…” (secondary student). 

Disability Pride Week at school 

Disability Pride Week gives your school the opportunity to celebrate the contribution that disabled students make to your school. Some activities you can do to support this include: 

Giving disabled students the chance to express their creativity and what they value about themselves. 

Exploring what it means to live in a disabling world for students and working on what you can do to reduce this. 

Thinking about what it means to be an ally of disabled students and their families. 

Find out about other activities and information on Disability Pride Week(external link) 

To get people thinking about the future of education, we asked four questions.

Almost 1200 people who have a disability or a learning support need told us what is important to them in building a more robust education system.


BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 11:25 am, 12 September 2019

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