Inclusive education: Cross River Institute sensitises persons with disabilities, teachers, others

The Teachers Continuous Training Institute (TCTI) Biase – Cross River State, has held an intensive training programme for teachers, Persons Living With Disabilities (PWDs), and their handlers on the need to promote inclusive education in the State.

Director-General of the Institute, Professor Taoheed Adedoja, said the training programme was designed to equip persons living with disabilities, teachers, educators and Ministry officials with the knowledge and skills needed for enhanced inclusive education in the state.

Adedoja, a former Minister of Sports and Special Duties, noted that once PWDs are equipped through investments in knowledge, skills and infrastructure and the right policies and solutions provided, this would enable them to live productively and give them a sense of inclusion in society.

He emphasised the significance of the training programme and enjoined everyone to afford persons living with disabilities all the opportunities they require to develop their self-esteem and break the stigma and discrimination against them.

Adedoja added that the training would also boost the literacy and proficiency of the participants in the fast-growing digital economy, noting that the training programme was in line with the vision of the Governor of Cross River State, Senator Bassey Otu, of raising globally competitive manpower.

“The workshop is timely and in consonance with the spirit of Governor Otu’s government of inclusivity to extend knowledge to all and sundry, irrespective of one’s status,” he said.

According to a communiqué issued at the end of the 3-day workshop which held between Wednesday, May 8 – and Friday, May 10, 2024, and made available to newsmen on Sunday, the training programme was organized for various categories of persons with speech impairment, persons with albinism, persons with visual impairment, those on wheelchair and crutches, teachers from primary, secondary, vocational and technical schools.

The workshop was tagged: “Sensitization & Awareness Programme on Educational Services for Persons with Disabilities”.

The communiqué signed by Mr Michael Ogbiji, Secretary-General of the Joint National Association of Persons Living with Disabilities, said representatives of the ministries of Education, Information and Culture, Social Welfare/Rehabilitation centres, Foundations and Non-Governmental Organisations from the UK’s ‘WE CAN ACCESS’, TAF and the organised private sector participated in the workshop.

Some experienced experts who facilitated the training programme identified common challenges faced by persons living with disabilities including lack of opportunity for inclusive education, poor employment opportunities, and physical and attitudinal barriers amongst others.

They also spoke on socio-cultural barriers such as stigma, prejudice and discrimination suffered by persons living with disabilities and called for improved accessibility for them in the areas of leisure, cultural and sporting activities.

In that respect, participants at the workshop commended the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede for the opportunity provided for persons living with disabilities in the last eight years for admission into tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

“Essential adaptive technology materials to enhance the teaching of Persons with disabilities should be made available to primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Cross River State.

“The Cross-River State House of Assembly should pass and domicile the “Disability Discrimination Act” into law in the state while entrepreneurial centres to provide appropriate required skills for Persons with disabilities relevant to the development of Nigeria should be provided,” part of the communiqué read.

The participants also thanked the state Governor, Prince Bassey Otu, for providing for persons living with disabilities in the 2024 ‘People’s First’ Budget which shows their inclusivity in the affairs of the State.

They commended the Teachers Continuous Training Institute for organizing a mini exhibition that has further enlightened them on special needs and opportunities for the persons living with disabilities in schools and for being the first Institute in Nigeria to award certificates to participants in both print and braille.

SOURCE: NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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