This news was originally posted on The Guardian, By Ernest Nzor, Abuja on 25 January 2023 | 11:14 am
As the World marks the international day of education, an international non-profit making organization, Sightsavers Nigeria, called on the government to pay more attention to the educational needs of children living with disabilities in the country in order to ensure inclusion.
The group also urged other stakeholders to advocate the right investment and education policies to help children have access to quality education, regardless of their abilities.
A statement by Country Director, Sightsaver Nigeria, Dr Sunday Isiyaku, said that Nigeria has one of the highest rates of out-of-school children.
He said: “In Kaduna we have seen first-hand the positive impact that education can have on the lives of children with disabilities and their families. Inclusive education is not only a basic human right, but also a powerful tool for achieving sustainable development.
“We praise the government for their work on disability inclusion so far and call for them and others to continue on this path. Together, we can ensure that no child is left behind in their quest for education and a better future”
In her remarks, the Sightsavers Program Manager for Social inclusion, Esther Angulu, said: “We call on governments and communities around the world to take action to the campaign that children with disabilities can have the same opportunities to learn as their non-disabled peers.
“With the right support and accommodation, there’s no reason why children with disabilities can’t be educated in the same classrooms and schools as non-disabled children. Inclusive education not only improves educational outcomes for children with disabilities, but also promotes social inclusion and helps to break down barriers of discrimination.”
She explained that Sightsavers has been working with the government and partners on SMILE, an inclusive education project for children with disabilities in Kaduna state.
While reacting, a visual impairment 14-year old child, Godson Benjamin, “A child with visual impairment who goes to one of the schools, has said that it is the first time he has been celebrated as a child with a disability, and that “my teacher and my classmates are now very supportive, caring and friendly towards me.”
He hopes to be a teacher when he grows up.