Provost urges stakeholders to prioritise interest of learners with special needs
• Says shortfall in education cummulative effect of past neglect
Provost, Federal College of Education (Special), Oyo, Prof. Kamoru Usman, has urged stakeholders to give priority to learners with special needs, to boost their potentialities for quality living and socio-economic development.
Prof. Usman, in an interview with journalists in Oyo, also noted that the present challenges in the sector are a cummulative effect of neglect of the past.
While making a case for persons with special needs, the Provost said it takes three times the cost of training someone without physical disabilities to train these set of people.
He said: “Persons with special needs require assistance to go about. In the past, when you have someone with disabilities, you would just go and hid him or her. We don’t have enough schools for those with special needs. We have 21 federal colleges of education in Nigeria, eight are technical, 12 are conventional while one is special and they treat us alike.
“Government should improve facilities for the disabled, as anybody can be in special need anytime, arising from unforeseen circumstances.
“To me, we are not doing badly really. This is because when some of our products leave this soil, they usually perform wonders. That is to say our education sector is still doing fine. The only thing I am personally opposed to is failure to give room to those who are ready to excel to prove their potential. There should be special funds for scholarship to encourage those who are endowed with special talents,” Usman added.
On the nation’s education policy, the provost said implementation remains the greatest challenge.
He appealed to the government to fund special education and encourage children with special needs.
“I don’t pray that everybody should be affected, but our leaders need to wake up. Any disease can cause disability, is it until then that government would start working on the facilities? No, we need to wake up and pay greater attention to special education. Sadly, the society still sees people with special needs as objects of pity, this is very wrong. Special needs people are highly intelligent; given equal opportunity, they would excel.
He also appealed to the government to upgrade the college to a university of education.
The provost lamented that most their products are not fit for a regular university for further study.
He disclosed that “school has an average of 5,000 students, out of which about 2,000 are with disabilities.