By Paul Efiong
A nongovernmental organization Joint Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), the United States Agency for International Development(USAID) among others have concluded plans to go into partnership with UNICEF to implement a four year advocacy project aimed at providing all Inclusive education for children with disabilities in FCT Abuja.
To facilitate the Inclusive Education process in the FCT, the Model For Accessible and Inclusive School Environment (MAISE) was designed by the USAID-SACE and JONAPWD according to a draft policy of Inclusive Education in the territory that was made available to our correspondent yesterday.
Speaking during a technical session on how to finalize the proposed draft policy on inclusive education, the National President of JONAPWD Ms. Ekaete Umoh disclosed that persons with disabilities constitute about 15% of the population in developing countries like Nigeria adding that between 80 to 90% of such people don’t have access to basic education and basic needs of life.
Ms Umoh further blamed the situation on lack of commitment and political will by some leaders emphasizing that exclusive and inaccessible nature, structure and system of almost all the primary and secondary schools in Nigeria.
According to JONAPWD boss, the restriction of education of children with disabilities to very few poorly staffed, poorly equipped and outdated limited special schools coupled with very low public awareness on issues of inclusive education for many years has affected education of children with disabilities in the country.
She also identified inadequate and human capacities required to implement inclusive education and inadequate poor implementation and lack of legal frameworks that should have help to enhance inclusive education for children with disabilities as major factors against inclusive education policy.
She explained: “ Nigeria has signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 24 of which provides that all schools must be inclusive of and accessible to all children including those with disabilities”.
“The country has equally signed up to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 4 targets that by 2030 all school age children including those with disabilities must have access to qualitative, functional and effective education”.