Osun State government has been charged to make public schools in the state accessible to children with disabilities to enable them interact and learn with their able counterparts.
The Executive Director, Community Advancement Initiative for Self-Reliance, Mrs Ayeni Eni appealed to the state government to enhance inclusive education in the state.
She said this during the handing over of inclusive education facilities to the state government in Osogbo, the state capital.
Ayeni said inclusive education would ensure increase enrolment and retention of children with disabilities in mainstream schools in the state.
She added that the project, funded by The Leprosy Mission Nigeria/Liliane Fonds, titled “Enhancing access of children and young persons with disability to quality education and health care through inclusive policy towards accessible teaching and learning in Osun State” was aim at increasing enrolment and retention of children and young persons with disabilities in mainstream primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions in two local government areas in the state.
According to her, “As a result of this intervention, accessible ramps were provided in all the focal schools while existing toilets were reconstructed in two schools.”
In addition, the project supported the integration and establishment of a resource room equipped with audio-visual equipment for learners who are the deaf have been put in place in one of the project schools” the four primary and secondary schools in the two local government areas.”
The beneficiary schools are Anthony Udofia Elementary School, LA Adenle Grammar School, C & S St. Michael Primary School, Ifeoluwa Grammar School and UniOsun, osogbo campus.
In order to address issues of stigma and discrimination among the school community, 45 teachers were trained on how to conduct simple disability screening and disability appreciation.
As a result of the skills acquired, the trained teachers were able to conduct disability screening for the pupils/students in their schools while referrals were made to relevant healthcare facilities courtesy partnership strengthened among the trained teachers and health workers during the project implementation.
She noted that one hundred and twenty-seven students were trained on disability appreciation and formed into peer educator groups to engage the school communities on anti-discrimination campaign.
The State Governor, Ademola Adeleke who was represented by his Deputy, Kola Adewusi lauded CAI4SR for its efforts towards making life better for the people of the state including women, children and persons with disabilities.
The Governor assured that the disability bill would be passed into law in the state soon to cater for the needs of persons with disabilities in Osun State.
The Chairman of Osun State chapter of Joint National Association of Persons with Disability, Stephen Oluwafemi said inclusive education would enhance access of children with disability to quality education.