UGOCHI NWAGBO reports that a three-day International Conference of the Faculty of Education, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, (UNIZIK) has ended with a resolution that there is a need to improve in education policies and diverse learning, as a way to enhance inclusive education in Nigeria.
The participants agreed that inclusive education is a global phenomenon in the 21st century and has become a key objective for the education of students with special educational needs.
The conference with theme “Global Perspective on Inclusive Education” looked at issues of education globally in the interest of the emerging world order.
Declaring the Conference Open at the University Auditorium, the Vice-chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Professor Joseph Ahaneku, said inclusive education yield rich dividends for children with or without disabilities and those with ability, not only in terms of cognitive achievements, but importantly in the affective domain.
Professor Ahaneku expressed optimism that the conference will yield recommendations that will help shape policy and practice on inclusive education in Nigeria even as he said that every child has a right to life, education among others.
The Dean Faculty of Education, Professor Nkechi Esomonu, said that every child in school should be enabled, supported and encouraged effectively to contribute and participate in all aspects of life in the school.
Professor Esomonu, further stated that inclusive education should afford diverse students opportunities to learn side by side irrespective of their abilities and challenges, adding that it was the right of every child to be educated and not a privilege.
According to her “every child in school should be enabled, supported and encouraged effectively to contribute and participate in all aspects of life in school”. Inclusive education should afford diverse students opportunities to learn side by side, irrespective of their abilities and challenges, peculiar to any individual”.
The keynote speaker, Professor Martin Block of the department of Kinesiology, university of Virginia, USA on inclusion in physical education a global perspective said research shows that physical education teachers are not prepared for inclusion and as a result children with disabilities often do not have positive experiences, nothing that all should be given inclusive education so that negative experience or influence will not be poised on them.
Professor Block, a specialist in physical education and motor development maintained that inclusive education was still limited globally as most countries relied on special schools as the primary source of education for children with disabilities.
He however advocated that all children regardless of abilities or disabilities should be educated within the same environment, an environment where each child’s educational needs are met.
On his part, the chairman of the conference, Professor Sam Omenyi, revealed that the conference will accord new approaches on how to transform educational system to respond to the diversity of learners, changes and modification in content, structures, processing, policies and strategies.
Similarly, Associate Professor of Adapted Physical Activity University of Paris Nanterre, France Dr. Claire who described the conference as apt as it harped on the importance of physical activities ,called for the proper use of modern technology to enhance inclusive education goals amongst students.
There was song rendition by the visually impaired students, Award of Scholarship to indigent Students in faculty of education, Presentation of Award of Distinguished Education Ambassador to Nneoma Anna Okolie, Award of Excellence for Humanitarian Services to Chief Chinedu Obidigwe and Award of Academic and Administrative Excellence to Professor Joseph Eberendu Ahaneku, FAS.