By Uangbaoje Alex
The Executive Secretary, Kaduna State Disability Affairs Board, Aliyu Yakasai on Tuesday noted that the State still have a long way to go in the inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), especially at the tertiary education level.
The ES, said though the state government is doing a lot in so many other aspects for the PWDs, but there’s yet much more to be done in the tertiary education sector.
Yakasai, who stated this at a one day “Media Roundtable on Inclusive Education in Kaduna State” organized by the Joint National Associations of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWDs) in collaboration with Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment & Development (CALPED), added that the government is working to address their concerns.
“We have a lot of challenges, mostly at the higher level of education, PWDs meet more challenges at the tertiary institution, they don’t have listening ears, nobody listens to their plights, they can spend years crying that they are finding it difficult to access a tall building nobody will care about their pains.
“Our biggest challenge is that most people in the education sector are not even aware of the disability issues, when you just go to them and ask them to provide a ramp in the building for instance, they will tell you that there is no need for it, because they don’t know it’s importance.
“Students with disability can be in the same roof with other students, all you need to do is make the atmosphere conducive for them, let them continue with their learning. We are focusing on students with disability themselves, if you make the atmosphere conducive for them they will be able to learn.
“A deaf man cannot hear but he can do every other thing like others, once you provide avenue for him to understand what is going on in that class, that is all, you have solve his problem. He can be able to learn alongside with others. It is that sign language interpreter that he need.
“Those with visually impaired needs devices that will help them most, especially laptops, all they need to do is to have laptop that the software is going to be installed in it, that is all you have solve his problems, and most especially in the university the lecturers don’t write much, they talk more and they can also record which after they go back and play it.”
He revealed that the state disability law has been reviewed and that the amendment passed by the State House of Assembly and that Governor el-Rufai is expected to accent to the Bill before the end of his tenure in May.
He however, commended the media for their support, adding “I consider this engagement very important because the media are the one to champion the it. To draw the attention of the public on the need towards realising the implementation plan.
“We are going to keep you informed on the roles of the stakeholders in terms of violation so that you will be able to know when they didn’t play their roles well.
We still have a long way to go, there is deep ignorance on the disability issues among major stakeholders and that is where the crocs of the matter lies.”
Early, State Chairman of JONAPWD, Mr Suleiman Abdulazeez, said that in spite of the existence of an Inclusive Education Policy in the state, most of the state-owned tertiary institutions were not accessible to their members.
According to him, inclusive education is a system that ensured teaching, curriculum, school buildings, classrooms, play areas, transport facilities and toilets were appropriate for all students, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.
He lament the plights of PWDs in the various state-owned tertiary institutions of learning, including the federal and private institutions, were grappling with communication and physical barriers, making it difficult for the hearing and visually-impaired people to understand and the others to access classrooms, laboratories and offices.
Abdulazeez” therefore, appealed for equal access to educational facilities and learning materials in the state-owned tertiary institutions.
JONAPWD is implementing a 12 Months “Advocacy and Capacity Strengthening of Young Persons with Disabilities on Inclusive Education Framework in Nigeria”. grant under the Nigeria Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through Palladium.
The project aims to advocate for the implementation of inclusive education provisions contained in Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPWD) and Part 5 of the Nigeria Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018.