By Ere-ebi Agedah Imisi
Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, NCPWD, James Lalu, has called for the immediate overhaul of the education curriculum, spanning from primary to tertiary institutions, to ensure inclusivity for all.
Lalu who stated this during a two-day National Summit on Access to Education for Persons with Disabilities, PwDs in Abuja, said staggering 85% of the country’s schools are presently inaccessible to individuals with disabilities
Lalu laid bare the formidable obstacles faced by individuals with disabilities when seeking an education. These challenges include the absence of accessible learning environments, inadequate teacher-to-student ratios, and a glaring scarcity of crucial assistive devices.
He emphasized that these barriers must be dismantled to grant individuals with disabilities the access to education they rightfully deserve.
He said, “When you look at our schools in Nigeria, I can rightly say that about eighty-five to ninety-five per cent are not accessible to persons with disabilities. Because structures are being raised on daily basis by federal, states and local governments that do not conform with the Minimum Accessibility Standards for Persons with Disabilities to access.
‘’It is part of our mandate which was properly captured in Section 2 to 15 of the discrimination against Persons with Disabilities Prohibition Act 2018″ he said.
He explained that the commission had come up with a national regulation on accessibility which ensures a new dimension and standardization on accessibility of facilities across public buildings in Nigeria.
Lalu also decried the growing inadequacy in terms of teachers to student’s ratio as part of issues against access to education for Persons with Disabilities. ”There is growing inadequacy of teachers that suppose to handle children with disabilities to ensure access to education” he said.
The Executive Secretary therefore insisted on the need for stakeholders to support efforts towards ensuring that Persons with Disabilities gets good access to education.
Also Speaking, the Minister of State for Education Dr. Yusuf Sununu, said, the summit came at a time of the consideration and implementation of national inclusive policy on education.
The Minister, who was represented by Dr. Claris Ujami, said, inclusive education is key to ensuring social inclusion, job creation and independent living for Persons with Disabilities.
He expressed optimism that with the commitment of stakeholders Nigeria would achieve inclusive education for children with Disabilities. ‘‘I think inclusive education is something the at we can achieve, if we can come together with all partners, I believe we can achieve the educational goals and the outcomes that we expect for the Nigerian education sector” he said.
In the same vein, Inclusive Development Consultant, Dr. Aliyu Abdulahi, said, “What we want to produce at the end of this summit is the national operating procedure for our schools and classroom teachers. Though we have a policy on National Inclusive Education in various states, we carried out a study, and it shows that there is a huge gap between what is practiced in the schools.
“We also observed that in a particular state, we realized that there is a need to standardize. We will be collecting ideas from stakeholders who have experience to guide.”