By Felix Khanoba
A United States-based university lecturer, Dr. Khadijat Rashid, has called for the establishment of a special university to cater for the education needs of the 17 million deaf people in the country.
Khadijat, who is the Dean , School of Education, Business and Human Services, Gallaudet University, Washington, said the establishment of such institution would help people like her that suffer hearing impairment.
She made the call in Abuja when she led a delegation of the deaf community in Nigeria on a courtesy visit to the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah.
“We want the government of Nigeria to establish a deaf university in Nigeria that will help the over 17 million deaf citizens service their needs,” she said.
While calling for government support for Gallaudet University quest to partner with Wesley University, Ondo, in providing quality special education for deaf people in the country, Khadijat said Wesley University was already running some special programmes for the deaf.
“Wesley University owned by the Methodist Church is not depending on Federal Government funds to open a campus for the deaf. The university has other funding sources. What we want from the government is approval of our programmes and students should be encouraged to come and qualify for that university,” Khadijat said.
Also speaking, Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, who facilitated the deaf community visit to the minister, said the delegation, which includes the Nigerian National Association of the Deaf, had earlier met with the Board and the National Universities Commission (NUC) to press home their demand.
He called for the resuscitation of special education centre for the deaf located in University of Ilorin, adding that a situation where the centre is in poor state 30 years after establishment calls for serious concern.
Oloyede advocated for the establishment of special education centres for the deaf in select federal universities in every geo-political zone as well as government support for Wesley University and a private university in the North to meet the education yearnings of deaf people.
Responding, the minister restated the commitment of the present administration to meet the education needs of all Nigerians.
While saying it was the policy of government not to finance private universities, Anwukah, however, assured that support would be given to Wesley University to achieve the special education goal.