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Published On: Tue, Feb 6th, 2018

Gov’t to build steps for easy accessibility by children with special needs

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The FCT Administration has upped it’s effort to incorporate in the Territory’s building policy, regulations that will ensure that new public building approvals, particularly for educational facilities, meet the standard for accessibility by children with special needs.
To this end, the FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr. Chinyeaka Ohaa has been directed to set machinery in motion for implementing the building policy, added that FCT will remodel and renovate three schools in the FCT as pilot scheme for this purpose.
Accordingly, the schools are GSS Jabi, GSS Festival Road Garki and Pilot Science Primary School in Wuse Zone 5, Abuja.
This was disclosed when the FCT Committee on Inclusive Education Policy called on the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello to brief him on progress of work recently.
According to the Minister, “Already I’ve seen the costing and the budget and from what I’ve seen, at least we would be able to fund immediately the three pilot schemes.
“Hopefully, as we quickly finalize our 2018 budget, we will be able to accommodate the other ones.
“What we are doing, along with other interventions, is something that would be more sustainable.
“We, as public officers have to ensure that the policy is well entrenched so that when officers change, the policy is still there.”
While thanking USAID for its partnership in driving the policy, the Minister canvassed for establishment of a system of robust institutional memory framework and record keeping that would ensure that legacies of this policies are entrenched, so that whoever comes in will continue to build on where others stopped.
Earlier in her remark, National President, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) Ekaete Judith Umoh said Nigeria as far back as 1994 assented to UN convention for inclusive education but regretted that the issue has since been downplayed.
Umoh added that the FCT currently has an average of 5 special schools with the enrolment capacity of an average of 1,000 pupils per school, noting however that most special needs schools are lacking in basic educational infrastructure, human material and financial resources.
She said, JONAPWD and the USAID approached the FCT education Secretariat to partner with them to roll out the project of inclusive education in the FCT.
“The USAID thought it wise that they have to start this project in Nigeria, being a huge country, which plays a great role in Africa; that they have to test run inclusive education.
“They co-opted JONAPWD to first of all set up a policy that will run inclusive education. FCT, Kwara and Akwa Ibom states were chosen. For that of FCT, the work to champion the cause of inclusive education was placed on the education secretariat,” Umoh said.
Ekaete appealed to the Minister to sign off the policy on Inclusive Education for children with disabilities in the FCT as well as set up an inter-ministerial technical working group to coordinate implementation of the policy.
She equally requested the Minister to map, designate, rehabilitate and properly equip at least 9 existing public regular primary and secondary schools in the FCT to serve as pilot and demonstration of inclusive basic education.

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