A Call to End the Rejection of Persons with Disabilities in Nigerian Schools

He made this request on Tuesday during the 2023 International Day of Persons with Disabilities celebration in Abuja, which was organized by the Federal Ministry of Education.

Dr. Yusuf Sununu, the Minister of State for Education, emphasized the importance of education stakeholders refraining from rejecting persons with disabilities (PWDs) within school environments.

He made this plea during the Federal Ministry of Education’s observance of the 2023 International Day of Persons with Disabilities in Abuja on Tuesday.

Historically, PWDs have encountered various barriers to accessing education. Discrimination, a lack of appropriate facilities, and a dearth of trained educators have contributed to the exclusion of many from mainstream educational systems. The rejection of PWDs within school environments further perpetuates societal misconceptions and hampers the overall development of individuals with disabilities.

The minister’s message was conveyed by his Special Adviser, Technical, Mrs. Clarence Ujam.

To achieve true inclusivity, it is essential to empower educators and educational institutions with the necessary tools and resources. Training programs, workshops, and awareness campaigns can equip teachers with the skills needed to cater to diverse learning needs effectively. Moreover, educational institutions must invest in infrastructure that

t is conducive to the needs of students with disabilities, ensuring that they can navigate the learning environment comfortably.

In addition to urging stakeholders, the Nigerian government must actively engage in policy reforms and initiatives that support inclusive education. Allocating funds for accessible infrastructure, providing financial incentives for educators specializing in inclusive teaching methods, and enforcing anti-discrimination policies are crucial steps towards building an inclusive education system.

The occasion, themed “United in Action to Rescue and Achieve the SDGs For, With, and By Persons With Disabilities,” was organised in collaboration with the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment, AGILE, project.

Sununu commended the AGILE programme for championing the cause of PWDs, especially in seeing that persons with disabilities have a voice.

“It is disheartening to note that some people still perceive disability negatively; superstition and ignorance have greatly influenced their attitudes towards persons with disabilities.”

“Most of the rights of people with disabilities are not given to them. These include the right to education, medical care, employment, and free movement,” Sununu said.

He said findings revealed that children with disabilities are rejected by public schools because of a lack of facilities and carers.

“This discrimination must stop with the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders,” Sununu said.

Dr. Yusuf Sununu’s call to end the rejection of people with disabilities in Nigerian schools is a rallying cry for change. Embracing inclusivity in education is not just a responsibility; it is an investment in the future of a more equitable and compassionate society. As stakeholders and policymakers heed this call, the journey towards a truly inclusive education system in Nigeria can begin, paving the way for a brighter and more inclusive future for all.

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