Appraising Employment Accommodation Rights for Visually Impaired Teachers in Ethiopia: Overview of Selected Cities

Author:S Ashagre
Position:Lecturer of law, Hawassa University Law School; LL.B 2004, LL.M 2009, Addis Ababa University.
Pages:406-423
SUMMARY

The stride of countries towards the implementation of international conceptions, standards and programmes is creating a fertile ground for persons with disability in their efforts to become part of the productive section of the population. Ethiopia’s Proclamation No. 568/2008 embraces the social-constructionist model, a conception of disability that strives towards the reduction of hurdles on the ... (see full summary)

 
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Appraising Employment
Accommodation Rights for Visually
Impaired Teachers in Ethiopia:
Overview of Selected Cities
Shimeles Ashagre
Abstract
The stride of countries towards the implementation of international
conceptions, standards and programmes is creating a fertile ground for
persons with disability in their efforts to become part of the productive
section of the population. Ethiopia’s Proclamation No. 568/2008 embraces
the social-constructionist model, a conception of disability that strives
towards the reduction of hurdles on the participation of disabled persons.
Ethiopia has also ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disability (CRPD) thereby endorsing accommodation in the employment
rights of disabled persons. Arguably, Ethiopia did not go far enough in
implementing the right of accommodation for visually impaired teachers in
the high schools that are referred to in this comment, i.e., in Addis Ababa,
Hawassa, Soddo and Arba Minch. This is attributable to the level of
awareness of the employers about this right and the lack of finance to
install some technological apparatus in this respect. Ethiopia should thus
work hard to realize its commitment in the Convention by addressing the
needs of Ethiopian teachers with visual impairment.
Key words
Disability, visually impaired, medical model, quota model, social model,
discrimination, Ethiopia
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/mlr.v8i2.5
______________
Introduction
The Proclamation on the Right to Employment of Persons with Disability
provides for reasonable accommodation as an important tool for the
Lecturer of law, Hawassa University Law School; LL.B 2004, LL.M 2009, Addis
Ababa University.
COMMENT 407
realization of equal opportunity. This comment evaluates the implementation
of reasonable accommodation, highlights the justification for the introduction
of this scheme and it discusses the failure of employers to accommodate
persons with disabilities.
The first section forwards a brief theoretical framework on the social
constructionist model in the disability discourse. Section 2 discusses the
state of anti-discrimination laws in Ethiopia (the Constitution, Proclamation
110/1994 and Proclamation 568/2008) in light of the various conceptual
frameworks that have influenced these laws. The third section dwells on the
justifications for the adoption of reasonable accommodation in lieu of the
quota system. The level of implementation of reasonable accommodation is
also evaluated since the law is in force. The last section forwards comments
on the enforcement of reasonable accommodation and the challenges thereof
based on 300 questionnaires administered on visually impaired teachers. The
conclusion reflects on possible obstacles in the course of implementing
reasonable accommodation.
1. The Shift from the Medical Model to the Social-
Constructionist Model
At present, the government of Ethiopia has changed the perception of
disability from the ‘medical model’ to the ‘social model.’ Proclamation, No
101/19941 labeled a person disabled where he “is unable to see, hear or
speak” if one suffers “from injuries to his limbs or from mental retardation,
due to natural or man-made causes.” In line with the legislation, the National
Program of Action defined disability as “any restriction or lack (resulting
from any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological, or anatomical
structure of function) of ability to perform an activity in the manner or
within the range considered normal for a human being.”
The Proclamation and the National Program of Action located disability
in the medical model that depicts individuals with disability as “suffering
subjects, characterized by the devastating changes and crises for both
themselves and their families”.2 The medical model “holds a person's
1 The Right to Employment of Persons with disability Proclamation No. 101/ 1994, Art.
2 (1).
2 Hartman, Macintosh, & Engelhardt (1983), ‘The neglected and forgotten sexual
partner of the physically disabled,’ J. Social Work, vol. 28, pp. 370-374.

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