Prof. Ikechukwu Nwazuoke, Lecturer, Department of Special Education, Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan, has called for the practice of inclusive education in various institutions of learning with the aim of driving inclusive societal growth.
Prof. Nwazuoke made the call while speaking at a one-day roundtable discussion on Usher syndrome/Deaf-Blindness for Government officials, policy makers and members of the disability community in Lagos State.
The roundtable discussion was organized by LionHeart Ability Leaders International Foundation, LALIF, with support from Disability rights Fund, DRF with the aim of sensitizing members of the public on Deaf-Blindness as a distinct disability group.
Prof Nwazuoke, who is also a member of the Board of Directors of LALIF, also called on regular teachers to support special teachers through which it would be seamless to teach persons with disabilities if such need arises.
Further speaking at the event, Prof. Nwazuoke reiterated that there is ability in disability and PWDs, if given the opportunity and necessary facilities, would be able to perform effectively in their education and the society at large.
Prof. Nwazuoke who disclosed that there are PWDs as lecturers across various departments of learning in various higher institutions noted that academic standards should not be lowered for PWDs because their disability does not necessarily affect their academic prowess.
Responding to questions, he said, “we cannot lower entry requirements for PWDs in higher institutions. We have some PWDs who are lecturers in many institutions. If we had lowered the standard when they were applying to study, we won’t be able to recruit them as lecturers because people would say they are not qualified like their other counterparts.
“So, we are not helping them if we think we should lower the standards of education for them, we will only be discriminating against them further, that they’re not capable like other able-bodied students, and it shouldn’t be so,” he added.
On his part, Mr. Akeem Kelani, a representative from the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs, LASODA, commended LALIF for organizing the program which has further enlightened a wide range of audience on Persons with Deaf-Blindness.
Mr. Kelani noted that he is certain that there are numerous people who are not aware of this specific disability group and urged LALIF to organize similar programmes which would ensure that more people are reached.
“If people do not know about this disability group, they won’t know how to treat them or what to provide for them, but if the public is well informed, they will have the right attitude towards them,” he summarized.
Expressing commitments on how to advance and ensure the rights of persons with Deaf-Blindness are protected, Mr. Solomon Okelola, Executive Director, LALIF said that the organization would ensure that Persons with Deaf-Blindness is a recognized cluster within the Disability community.