The British Council Nigeria has rallied stakeholders to chart a path for the inclusion of children with disabilities and gender in education to raise awareness about Special Education Needs and Disabilities, SEND, in Nigeria.
British Council Country Director and Africa Lead, Lucy Pearson, pointed out that the educational wellbeing of children, irrespective of gender or any form of disability, can only be achieved through shared knowledge and collective effort.
Pearson stated this at a three-day Annual Inclusive Education conference themed ‘Fostering Inclusion and Equity in Education in Nigeria’
According to Pearson, “The essence of the inclusion summit is to ensure the rights of every child to learn. Nigeria has indeed made considerable progress in this area with the inclusive education policy however implementation and mainstreaming remain a challenge.
“British Council supports the Nigerian government by providing best practices because all children should have equal access to quality education.”
While speaking on government efforts at mainstreaming disability and inclusivity in the education of children in Nigeria, Minister of State for Education, Yusuf Sununu said that in Nigeria access to quality education is a challenge for quite a number of children, hence, the launching of an education roadmap to address various challenges across board.
The minister Represented by his Special Assistant, Political, Atiku Abubakar, said “Fostering inclusion and equity in education means ensuring that all children have access to quality education regardless of their background or circumstances.
“It also means creating a learning environment where all students feel safe, respected and valued. It means providing students with the support they need to succeed regardless of their abilities.”
Calling support to state government toward implementation of statutory provisions for inclusivity and equity, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, (NERDC), Professor Ismail Junaid, said the school’s curriculum is the foundation for teaching and learning.
The Secretary of the council noted that the reflection of Inclusion and equity in the school curriculum ensures sustainability and growth.
He said, “Achieving Inclusion and equity is hinged on the curriculum, infrastructure and teacher capacity.”
According to him, the Nigerian National Inclusive Education Policy is robust in the provision of guidelines on these issues. He called for full implementation of the policy in states.
The three-day conference is expected to promote collaboration and networking among stakeholders in Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND)and the education sector, develop recommendations for improving the quality of SEND in Nigeria and share effective practices for supporting students with SEND in educational settings.
FRCN Abuja/Adetutu Adetule