Disability-inclusive advocates and education experts have appealed to the Lagos State government to harmonize efforts and successes of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Disabled Peoples Organizations (DPOs) on improving inclusive education delivery in the state with the aim of ensuring sustainability.
The experts shared this during the Validation Workshop on the Development of a Web-based platform for Community of Practice on Inclusive Education (COMPIE) organized by Festus Fajemilo Foundation (FFF).
Dr. Adebukola Adebayo, Disability-Inclusion Consultant while making his presentation said there is a need for the Lagos State Government to set up a specialized team to review all the progress that have been made regarding IE in the state to enable them to address whatever may be lagging.
“Agencies of government need to come together and set up a specialized team to come together to sustain engagement with CSOs and OPDs on IE because it is a highly specialized issue that cannot be regarded as day-to-day issues,” Adebayo added.
Talking about the importance of COMPIE which FFF is running, Dr. Adebayo stressed that the agencies of government need to institutionalize the community of practice so that CSOs can work together and drive sustainability of good practices.
He said “the government needs to institutionalize this because a lot of CSOs are doing a lot on IE. As such, there won’t be duplication of efforts, each project can complement one another and unnecessary competition and waste of resources would be avoided.”
He also advised that the implementation guideline for IE policy should be reviewed regularly such that the current practice is in line with the policy provision.
“The Ministry of Education and SUBEB need to look at the IE policy implementation guide for the IE policy because there are some specific guides that schools must have if they must deliver inclusive education appropriately.
“This implementation guide should be used by government agencies to design their yearly budget to enable them to function effectively and document different milestones that have been achieved,” he added.
On his part, Dr. Philip Adeleke, an Inclusive Education expert also noted that sustainability is key to improve on IE delivery in Lagos State. He appealed to the state government to recruit personnel to meet with the increased number of IE units that have been created.
Mr. Afolabi Fajemilo, the Executive Director of FFF commended the efforts of the Lagos State Government in improving IE in the state, noting that FFF is working to ensure that the efforts of the government are complemented towards the advancement of IE delivery in the state.
Fajemilo said the objective of the Community of Practice is to “promote knowledge sharing among teachers and stakeholders, improve content and quality of inclusive education and foster nationwide policy-based uniform practice while adapting to local needs.”
He stressed that the web-based platform would help to enhance uniformity of best practices within the education sector, and also improve learning outcomes for children with disabilities.
In attendance were representatives of the Lagos State Ministry of Education, Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, School Based Management Committee, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, The Irede Foundation, Human Development Initiatives, Education Resource Centre, and Disabled Peoples Organizations, among others.