Inclusive Education: A Voice For Special Needs

Published Apr 11, 2018
Image credit: Deepa Karthik

Education is a fundamental human right and unfortunately many disabled children are being deprived of it.   Nigeria and its neighbouring states are attempting to improve access to education in order to ensure education is inclusive. Nonetheless, there are still many improvements that need to be made. According to “The African Report on Children With Disabilities” less than 10% of children with disabilities acquire any form of education and only 2% attend school. This is a result of numerous factors. One factor is access to buildings. Many students travel great lengths to school, which would be significantly harder for a student with a physical disability. On top of that, the buildings themselves present problems including not having ramps or handrails. Additionally, there is the problem of educators. Schools may not have enough funding to train teachers to properly handle and help special needs students.  Also due to lack of educators there is large class sizes and many students do not receive the attention they need.

Most countries focus on gender equality, as they should; however, they forget that that is not all which inclusive education refers to.  If you examine Article 26 and Article 24 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) you can see they specifically discuss inclusive education and persons with disabilities. Nigeria is not the only culprit, other countries in the region have shocking statistics when it comes to special needs education. In Ethiopia less than 1% of disabled children have access to education and in Central African Republic almost three quarters of children are not receiving any form of education. Although Nigeria does have a handful of schools dedicated to children with special needs, more can be done.  The government and citizens should stop attempting to find loopholes that prevent inclusive education.

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Milana Petko

Global Citizen | Educator | Volunteer

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