UBEC

By Deborah Tolu-Kolawole

A total of N4,257,638,624.66 was disbursed to the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory for the education of children with special needs within three years.

This was contained in a document obtained from the Universal Basic Education Commission by our correspondent in Abuja on Monday.

The National Policy on Education, designed by the Federal Ministry of Education, categorises children with visual and hearing impairments, physical and health impairment, intellectual disability, emotional and behavioural disorder, speech and language impairments, learning disabilities, multiple disabilities, gifted and talented as well as people with albinism as people of special needs.

In the document sighted by our correspondent, UBEC noted that it disbursed a total of N4,257,638,624.66 between 2016 and 2018.

It, however, stated that the document was its latest.

In 2016, each state and the FCT got N47,942,799.68 each, while in 2017, states and FCT obtained N30,400,600 each.

The disbursement was increased in 2018, with each state and the FCT obtaining a total of N36,727,914.50 each.

Speaking in an interview with The PUNCH, an education advocate and convener, CareerEdu Foundation, Toluwalase Adeniyi, said, “If these states access these funds, they can easily find ways to get equipment and things that will make learning for these children easier. Education for special needs is not simple; it is not just about learning ABC. That is why we talk about the quality of the teachers.

“It is a glorified service. There are teachers who want to get involved but the government itself is not ready to pay much. It is a sector that, if not talked about, they (government) might not even remember it.”

Data from the Federal Ministry of Education notes that special needs schools in Nigeria exist as full-fledged special needs schools, that is they enrol only students with special needs; and inclusive schools (all categories of students, including those with special needs).

So far, only 1,177 full-fledged special needs schools exist in the country with Kano (153), Kaduna (79) and Lagos (75) having the highest number of special needs schools.

The country currently has 33,603 inclusive schools with Kano State leading with 3,522 schools; Kaduna State with 2,296 and Katsina State with 2,096.

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