From Maurice Okafor, Enugu.
A United Kingdom-based group, Voluntary Service Organisation(VSO) in partnership with Youth Resource Development Education and Leadership Centre for Africa (YORDEL Africa) , has advocated for inclusive learning and use of sign language and pictures as a method of teaching for all classes and categories of pupils in Enugu schools.
The group made a presentation of pictorial materials that will facilitate sign language teaching for both able and disabled pupils as part of realization of the policy in inclusive education in Enugu state to the Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB), during the launch of the advocacy held at Oakland Hotel, Enugu.
The VSO programme manager, Mrs Christabel Omolade disclosed that in furtherance to the realisation of inclusive learning in Nigeria,VSO has trained over 14,000 children both able and disabled on the use of sign language.
She stated, “As we all know, inclusion is not about structure, it is not about putting teachers in the classroom, it is about children learning, it’s about children participating in learning and community supporting them to learn. If we say we have inclusion, we should not have special school for children, every school should be inclusive, the child that cannot hear, the child that cannot see should be in the same school with the child that can see and hear so that they learn together in the same harmony and environment but unfortunately we are not seeing that”.
She stated further ” We want the Government and citizens to use the pictorial guidelines presented today to create more awareness on this policy and that’s why we put it in pictorial words and make it simple with fewer words. Our major work in the education sector is inclusive education. This means that every child irrespective of whether the child is disabled or able,must be part of the education system “.
According to her, VSO has volunteers in all 36 states of the federation working to help the federal government to develop the volunteer policy by the National Volunteering Service that will encourage Nigerians to volunteer to work in their communities.
On his part, the President of YORDEL Africa,Mr Godwin Ogenyi said the aim of the programme was to bring learning and teaching in a simplified form.
Receiving the inclusive learning materials, the Executive Chairman of ENSUBEB, Ikeje Asogwa, who was represented by the Hygrnius Eze, assured that the Board will continue to partner with VSO and YORDEL to ensure inclusive education for all school children