The government has been urged to ensure that rural schools are fully inclusive to make them easily accessible for children with disabilities and their siblings.
Speaking at a programme tagged ‘We Ring The Bell’, initiated by The Liliane Foundation, Netherlands (an NGO that focuses on the empowerment of children and youngsters with disabilities from 0-25 years, Coordinator of Daughters of Charity Child Empowerment Programme, Rev. Sister Fidelia Unigwe said the event was aimed at raising the awareness of the government and the general public on the need for inclusive education for children and youngsters with disabilities.
Speaking further, she said “that it is not enough for government to have lots of schools in locations where children with disabilities will be in the boarding facilities, they should go beyond that to make schools in rural communities inclusive because it will make it easier for children with disabilities to go to school with their siblings and they will also have advantage of parental care. It will be easy for their caregivers to take them to school because of proximity of the schools.”
Principal of the School, Haijah Rukaiya Husseni said that the inclusive education, if fully implemented, will bridge the gap in education because it will provide opportunity for the style of learning of the children with disabilities to be included in the school’s curriculum.
The event also witnessed a presentation by Dr. Adebayo Adebukola where he described inclusive education as an emergency case in Nigeria.
He also said that inclusive education simply means good education because whatever children with disabilities can learn in special school, they can also learn in the conventional school.
“Inclusive school is best applied in scare resources, it is more expensive to build special schools and also build other schools. It is cheaper to make disability facilities available in the conventional schools and make them inclusive and have every child to learn in the same place,” Adebukola said.
The 2020 ‘We Ring The Bell’ event was held at Government Girls Secondary School Dutse Abuja where over 1,500 students rang the bell alongside their teachers.
The event was colourful as the girls rang the bell using their metallic plates and they sang their own composed song to affirm their acceptance of children with disabilities as classmates and playmates.
Rev Sis Unigwe said the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul Province of Nigeria through the office of Child Empowerment Programme put together the event which was initiated by the Liliane Foundation to draw the attention of the media, stakeholders and the public towards inclusive education.