By Rosemary Ogbonnaya
The fight against discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, PWDs has received a boost as the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, NCPWD, has said it is working closely with the Ministry of Education, and other relevant Agencies to develop curriculum on disability and inclusive development.
Disclosing this in Abuja on Monday at a 5- day workshop on curriculum development on disability and inclusive development, the Executive Secretary of NCPWD, Mr. James Lalu said the curriculum development is tied to the Commission’s Section 18, paragraph 2 of the discriminating act against PWDs,which gives it power to eliminate discrimination against Persons with Disabilities and ensure right to education up to the university level.
The curriculum which he described as a necessary means to correct imbalances in the learning institutions, was also, to align with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to make education attractive for Persons living with disabilities.
He recalled that President Buhari had mandated the Commission to come up with strategies that will make Institutions of learning attractive to Persons with Disabilities in order to take them off the streets.
Also, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs,Disaster Management and Social Development had proposed to remove out of school children with disabilities from the streets and back to school.
Acknowledging the huge task before the Commission, Lalu stressed,” How can we bring back out of school children with disabilities to school? If you look at it, it is a very heavy mandate. We have about 3.1million out of school children with disabilities that do not want to go to school. This requires our collective efforts to actualise this.”
The NCPWD boss assured that, the curriculum when developed, would go through the appropriate authorities for proper implementation.
“We are not here to share story, we are not here to share experience, but we are here to gather all the experiences we have over time, put them on paper so that we can develop curriculum and forward to the regulatory bodies,” said Lalu.
The ES said about six Vice Chancellors of the Federal Universities have shown interest and passion for inclusion of PWDs in their institutions, adding that the developed curriculum will reflect in both the Nigerian colleges of education, polytechnics, and universities.
He disclosed the Commission’s resolve to offer special scholarships for Persons with Disabilities in schools, adding that the scholarship will not start from Tertiary institutions but, right from the primary, secondary and to the Tertiary.
While speaking on the effort made so far, Lalu said NCPWD is working with the Education Ministry to ensure that every federal school is open for free education for PWDs.
The Commission, according to him, has secured perfect partnership with the Nigerian Police Force to enforce the right to education of people with disabilities.
He said the commission will soon launch digital application that will help PWDs to widen their capacity.
Lalu, therefore, called on the relevant authorities to partner with the commission to actualise it’s objectives.
Also, the National President, Association of the blind, Ishika Adamu said the curriculum will help close the gap in accessing Tertiary education for PWDs.