The Lagos State House of Assembly has been tasked on the urgent need to implement and transform into law the Inclusive Education policy in Lagos State with a view to provide access to public education for all.
The call was made during a walk to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities with the theme, ‘Promoting the Participation of Persons with Disabilities and their Leadership’. The walk was convened by Human Development Initiative, HDI, with support from Action Aid and NORAD.
While speaking at the end of the walk which terminated at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Dr Adebukola Adebayo, Lagos Sate Chairman of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, JONAPWD, said the non-implementation of the inclusive education policy has a negative impact on the education for children in the state.
Dr Adebayo said, “Lagos State has the highest number of out of school children in Nigeria and could be averted only if the policy is implemented. We want the Lagos State House of Assembly to convert the policy into law so it can be budgeted for and the Ministry of Wducation will be empowered to implement the policy. Once this is done, we can achieve zero out of school children in Lagos.”
The Lagos JONAPWD Chair requested that a department be created at the Ministry of Education to handle ‘inclusive education’ which according to him is not limited to persons with disabilities but the poor and those in hard to reach communities.
Responding, Hon Yinka Ogundimu, Chairman House Committee on Education commended the group for its efforts and noted that the House of Assembly is passionate on issues of education in the state.
He disclosed that, “Budget allocation for education has been increased and we want to assure you that the full implementation of education budget for 2020 will not be compromised. It’s not going to be business as usual. We will do justice to your request and ensure adequate attention is paid to it.”
He called for a working relationship with the represented groups to draft and translate the inclusive education policy to a bill.
The walk had in attendance, members of Nigerian Union of Teachers, Children with disabilities from different clusters, persons with disabilities and members of the public.