Member representing Lere federal constituency of Kaduna State, Hon Ahmed Munir, has appealed to the National Council on Special Education Needs (NCSEN) to formulate policies that take care of the needs of special students to make Nigeria achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4 and the overall SDGs by 2030.
Munir said he submitted three separate bills which if passed, will take care of the education needs of special children.
He said, “All three bills have enormous implications that shall further bend the arch towards a free, just and luminous society for all. The first bill bothers on national security, the second is to establish a Federal Medical Centre in Lere federal constituency and the third bill is on the establishment of a National Council on Special Education Needs (NCSEN).
“No Child Left Behind: Four words that propelled the overhaul of education globally to cater for all students. Education is among several sectors that require restructuring in Nigeria. From archaic syllabus to exam malpractice, several glitches within the educational system have caused Nigeria to lag behind educational quality internationally.”
Munir said in the shadows of the system, lurked the plight of Special Education Needs (SEN) students who were often regarded as dull, slow, or mentally challenged, adding that something needs to be done to address such challenges.
He said SEN students are marginalised and ignored, adding that “Most people are dismissive of the realities of learning difficulties, assuming it is not a common problem in Nigeria. This is far from the truth. SEN is stereotypically categorized as educating physically challenged students in separate special schools.”
“Special Education is much more than two or three labels. It covers a vast range of learning difficulties, sensory/physical difficulties, communication needs, intellectual disabilities, behavioral/emotional difficulties, and medical conditions,” he noted.
He said that it is necessary to accommodate students with special needs, within mainstream schools, instead of them being unjustly perceived as burdens and brushed aside.
“Identifying strength and weakness, application of multiple teaching methods, individualized educational plans, therapy, modified syllabus & assessments and physical structural assistance are few services that are provided to SEN students to improve their educational knowledge.
“I examined the ‘Disability Bill’ which is still in limbo in the National Assembly shelf. “Part XII – Education” section of the “Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities” is flawed in the sense that it is not adequate and relevant for students with learning disabilities. A few lines are not sufficient to cater for the needs of students in Nigeria. Special Education should be an Act on its own,” he asserted.
“The aim of the NCSEN is to protect the rights of Children with learning difficulties and improve their educational outcome in an affordable manner, and ensure the equality of opportunity, independent livelihood, and economic self-sufficiency. It should be designed to meet their needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.