Disability inclusion experts have disclosed that appropriate and strategic measures need to be put in place by education stakeholders to ensure that inclusive education is not threatened in the post COVID era.
The disclosure was made during the training of enumerators for mapping and assessment of inclusive schools in Lagos by the Festus Fajemilo Foundation as part of its initiative to strengthen inclusive education through cooperative teaching in Lagos State.
The project is being implemented by Festus Fajemilo Foundation, the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, JONAPWD Lagos State Chapter and Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent DePaul Province Nigeria with funding from Liliane Foundation, Netherlands.
While facilitating the training session, Afolabi Fajemilo, Director, FFF explained that the enumerators would be deployed to all the 44 inclusive schools across the state for the purpose of identifying their shortfalls and thereby providing adequate intervention with the ultimate goal of making inclusive education more functional and effective in the state.
Fajemilo explained that the objectives of the mapping and assessment is “to map and identify inclusive schools with significant inadequacy in required teaching and non-teaching personnel; to identify and profile mainstream teachers who are willing to support the inclusive education activities in their schools;
“To appraise the attitude of regular and special education teachers towards the implementation of inclusive education in Lagos state through Focus group discussion; to train and deploy mainstream teachers on the basic skills required to support inclusive education activities in their schools,” he noted.
Fajemilo stressed that it is important that the assessment commence despite the continued closure of schools saying the two exercise do not require the presence of pupils and students to be in school. “Engagement is more about teachers and instructors,” he reiterated.
Dr. Adebukola Adebayo, Chairman, JONAPWD Lagos explained that the cooperative teaching project “is about having special teachers and regular teachers together. Our advocacy is about having inclusive education from the primary and because of few teachers, we believe it is imperative to increase the capacity of the regular teachers.
“So, we need collaboration and synergy between regular and special teachers to achieve this,” he added.
Adebayo also noted that the various feedback from the mapping and assessment would be used to provide the needed intervention and also help to develop a cooperative teaching manual.
“The mapping tool is to collect data on the level of inclusive practices in the 44 inclusive schools, develop teaching manual that would address the identified gaps and put in guidelines on how these teachers can go about it,” he noted.