By Bianca Iboma-Emefu
Executive director of the Irede Foundation, Centre for Youth Studies, Mrs. Seyi Sanjo-Bankole, has called on stakeholders in the education sector and government to support technological skills training for visually-impaired pupils.
Sanjo-Bankole made the observation at a three-day workshop organised by the foundation to equip the visually-impaired persons with assistive technologies skills training for blind students in Kings College and Queens College, Lagos.
The event was designed to serve as a road map for stakeholders in the specialized education sub-sector, a training-the-trainer session and had in attendance vision impaired resource persons and participants.
She stated that, if the special needs teachers’ programme was included in teacher education curriculum, it would boost inclusive education and help children to be independent as well as lead a normal life like other schoolchildren.
“Most of the physically challenged children are talented, but a lot still needs to be done in order to assist them live a normal life.’’
Sanjo-Bankole emphasized the need for tertiary institutions to improve on facilities for students with special needs, so that they can learn in a conducive environment.
“There is need to overhaul the curriculum to include special needs teachers’ programme that will aid pupils with any form of challenges. Society has placed a lot of embargo on kids and persons living with physical challenges.
“Fund is required to make them acquire digital skills; these skills will enable them compete favourably in any sphere they find themselves and if given access to qualitative education.
Tutor-general/permanent secretary, Education District III, Dr. Olufolayimika Ayandele, who was represented by the director of schools administration, Mrs. Motunrayo Osobu, said digital inclusion will ensure that disadvantaged groups are given access and skills required to enjoy the benefits of the information age.
Ayandele added that person with special needs constitutes a significant proportion of the Nigerian population and it is critical to improve their aptitude for and access to ICT for the benefit of the economy.
Principal of Queen’s College,Yaba, Mrs. Tokunbo Yakubu-Oyinloye, lauded the initiative and revealed that the event was significant because assistive technology would help visional impaired and other special needs students to perform better in their academics.
Yakubu-Oyinloye stressed that inclusive education needed to be domesticated for effectiveness across the nation.
A vision impaired undergraduate of University of Lagos, Boyo shared her experience during CBT exams. She said she couldn’t attempt all her exams because the person that assisted her to read the questions, spend much time explaining.
While a vision impaired teacher from Queen’s College, Yaba, shared her ordeal and difficult experience since she went to regular school without access to assisted technology and observed that with inclusive education things would have been much easier.