By Grace Edema
MasterCard Foundation has said digital resources will enhance the learning of students with disabilities.
A statement signed by the firm during its November EdTech Mondays Initiative, which was done in partnership with Co-Creation Hub, called on stakeholders in the private and public sectors to collaborate and make digital resources accessible to persons living with disabilities.
Speaking at the virtual roundtable session, titled “EdTech as an Enabler of Education for Learners with Disabilities,” the founder and Executive Director of the Disability Not a Barrier Initiative, Olajide Benjamin, identified that the state and situation of learners with disabilities in Nigeria were quite depressing.
He noted that it would take the efforts of both the public and private sectors, especially in the area of investment and policy development, to make it better.
“The status of learners with disabilities in Nigeria is in a deplorable state. While special education is practised in Nigeria, most developed countries allow for mainstream or inclusive education for people with disabilities. Over the years, the education system for persons with disabilities in Nigeria has been largely underfunded. And I believe the lasting solution lies with stakeholders developing less expensive teaching aids, localising software and applications to accommodate the peculiarities of the learners’ areas, and training personnel on the importance of technology to education,” he said.
He urged policymakers to review the national education policy to accommodate the use of EdTech that will support learners with disabilities.
In his remarks, a bio-medical engineer, Oluwatomisin Kolawole, stressed the need to provide capacity-building skills on the use of digital resources both for the teachers and the learners, saying this would go a long way to solving challenges associated with the use of these resources and making learning easy.
Amaka Ogwu, Head of Programme at the Disability Rights Advocacy Centre, stated that a poor learning environment and misconceptions about comprehension were major challenges affecting disabled learners and that stakeholders should make an effort to provide tools or resources that are tailored to their needs.