INSTITUTIONALIZING INCLUSIVE EDUCATION IN NIGERIA: A WAY TO END POVERTY
Nigeria is labelled the poorest country in the world that is a place where citizens can barely afford to eat one square meal a day. Nigeria has continued to implored different mechanisms to brace herself up on this reality, yet no commensurate effort has been recorded. A lot of factors were said to be responsible to this seemly impossible task. But the major critical factor in this statistics has been hinged on the number of it dependable citizens that makes up about two third of the population. The major alarming number of the dependable population is the 27millions people with disabilities because majority of these number are unable to cater for themselves. Resulting mainly on the failure of the government to educate this population as expected.
The education system in Nigeria provides for the able citizens to be educated separately while the disabled counterparts are considered for a special school. The irony of it is that; both able and disable will compete in the same labour market. Hence, becomes imperative to allow for inclusive education for all not minding the disable physical and psychological needs. The facilities provided in schools are not disability inclined thereby making learning a frustrated journey for the disable ones that summoned courage to pursue education. As result of these challenges, majority if not all disable see education as no go area for them. This of course have made most of them vulnerable member of the society. Depending wholly on the able to feed and carter for themselves. The government must rise up to it responsibility of ensuring that all citizens are given same opportunity in schools. As no human is of greater value that anyone else.
Today 3rd December 2019, is a day set aside to advocate for issues affecting persons with disabilities. Therefore, HDI and ActionAid with the support NORAD see the need to advocate for implementation inclusive education policy in Lagos State and Nigeria at large. Persons with disabilities in Nigeria, account for over 27 million of the population and still growing rapidly in the last few years. As United nation set aside today to take actions in favour of people with disability; stressing on the theme for 2019 tagged: ‘Promoting the participation of persons with disability’ in this light will call for active participation of persons with disabilities in all sectors, we at Human Development Initiate have come up with the need to buttressed on inclusive education for all. Inclusive education involves giving equally right to all learners irrespective of their physical and psychological needs. Hence, the government need to provide facilities to enable all groups concerned learn with easy and without any form of exclusion. According to the United Nation definition of inclusive education: it is a process that necessitates a continuing and proactive commitment to the elimination of barriers hindering the right to education, together with changes to culture, policy and practice of regular schools to accommodate all.
We believe when a disabled child does get the opportunity to receive quality education like every other child, doors are opened. Inclusive Education enables a disable child to secure his/her rights, fostering better access to better jobs and other good things of life. This must be built on quality education available equitably and devoid of all forms of discrimination. Allowing each child to flourish based on their interest and talents and not their physical attributes.
In ensuring that all children irrespective of their ability status, gender, background and religion have access to a free, inclusive, quality and equitable public education in Lagos State, we call on Lagos State Government to make public education all-inclusive by ensuring:
- No child of school age should be out-of-school in Lagos state, hence the abandoned policy document on Inclusive education should be reviewed and activated by the commissioner for education and get the approval of the State Executive Council to facilitate the support of the State House of Assembly to institutionalize it.
- The Lagos State House of Assembly should increase the share of allocation to education in the ongoing 2020 budget proposal review to support gender and disability inclusive public education in the State.
- That 20 percent of the planned teachers’ recruitment should be set aside for special needs teachers as a way of promoting inclusive education.
- The Medium Term Sector Strategy MTSS should be seen to promote inclusive education and build the capacity of initiators on gender and disability-based budgeting.
- Many children with disabilities are not in school, partly because their parents/guardians are not aware of the nearest locations of inclusive schools, thus the names of all the Lagos inclusive schools should be published
- The Lagos State Government should make special provision especially transportation, housing for teachers posted to hard-to-reach areas.
- Lagos State should create an Inclusive education unit in the ministry of education and train personnel on Gender and Inclusive education budgeting
- The Lagos State Government to ensure the provision of school facilities that are friendly to the marginalized and children with disabilities.
- Transport system should be school child-friendly.
This press release was signed by Human Development Initiatives.