The Lagos State Government has been applauded for its commitment towards ensuring that inclusive education is attained in the state with the purpose of providing access to public education for all.
Dr. Adebukola Adebayo, Chairman, Lagos State Chapter of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, JONAPWD, noted that among the states across the federation, it is noteworthy to mention that Lagos State has achieved a level of implementation and number of ‘supposed’ inclusive schools which are about 44 in the state.
Dr. Adebayo noted this while speaking at the two day Reflection Session and Stakeholders Meeting on Breaking the Barrier project of Human Development Initiative, HDI Nigeria in collaboration with Action Aid.
Adebayo who buttressed that inclusion is not just for children with disabilities and would also help to address the menace of out-of-school children explained that more needed to be done as inclusion has not been achieved in all the inclusive schools across the state.
“Inclusive education is not just for children with disabilities but every child that might have difficulty in accessing education.
“The reality we have now is that so many children are out of school, we must make sure that schools are available and accessible to our children, we can’t say because we are prioritizing other public infrastructures and ignore the provision of schools.
“To have inclusion, it means we need to have schools in locations where people can access it. Segregation is not the way to promote unity among our children”, he added.
He explained that, “while the Lagos State government could be applauded in comparison to other state, we should understand that the inclusive schools are in existence but they are not policy driven, there has been no approach for the implementation of inclusive education policy in the state.
However, it is hoped that the implementation plan which was recently developed by the Ministry of Education would help to achieve the implementation of the Lagos state Inclusive Education Policy.
Speaking about the project, ‘Breaking Barriers: Tax Justice and Gender Responsive Public Service’, Samuel Ajayi, Programmes Officer, HDI, explained that the project seeks to ensure that there is access to public education for all especially girls and marginalized children.
He noted that the stakeholders engagement is convened to “strengthen collaboration among stakeholders with the purpose of achieving the goals of the project – 4S; Size, Share, Sensitive and Scrutiny.
“We want to ensure we all work together as partners to achieve the 4s – Size; Budget size on Education; Share – that budget share allocated to public education keeps increasing not just in amount allocated but in disbursement and investment; Sensitive – to the needs of all children especially girls and marginalized; and Popular participation in the Scrutiny of the budget process”, he added.