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Inclusive education: Group trains 14,000 school children in sign language

By Emmanuel Acha [NAN]

A United Kingdom-based non-governmental organisation, called Voluntary Service Organisation (VSO), says it has trained at least 14,000 school children in sign language in the country.

The VSO Programme Manager, Education, Mrs. Christabel Omolade, made the disclosure on Tuesday during the presentation of materials on inclusive education to public schools in Enugu.

The materials were presented to the Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB) through VSOs local partner, the Youth Resource Development Education and Leadership Centre for Africa (YORDEL).

Omolade said the list of beneficiaries of the training included the physically challenged, hard of hearing and normal school children.

She said that the programme was part of the organisation’s efforts to mainstream inclusive education in the country and ensures that school children were not segregated on account of their challenges.

She said it had become expedient for Nigeria to join other countries of the word in enforcing the policy on inclusive education.

“Inclusion is about children participating in learning and the community supporting them.

“If we say we have inclusion, we should not have special school for physically challenged children.

“Every school should be inclusive. The child that cannot hear and the child that cannot see should be in the same school and classrooms with the child that can see and hear.

“This will help them to learn together in the same environment,” Omolade said.

She said that VSO decided to reduce the inclusive education policy in pictures in order to make it simple and easier for stakeholders to understand and implement.

According to her, VSO has volunteers in all the 36 states of the federation and recently helped the Federal Government to develop the National Volunteering Service.

Also, the Executive Chairman of ENSUBEB, Chief Ikeje Asogwa, said that the board had concluded plans to train its teachers on sign language.

Asogwa represented by the Secretary of the board, Mr. Hygrnius Eze, assured VSO and YORDEL of their continued collaboration to ensure inclusive education for all school children.

Earlier, the President of YORDEL, Godwin Ogenyi, said they decided to partner with VSO in order to simplify the policy on inclusive education for teachers and scholars.

Ogenyi commended VSO for the gesture which, he said, would make teaching and learning much easier.

“Our desire is to deepen learning in Enugu state and make it the foremost state where children are all included in the learning process that will guarantee sustainable development.

“Knowledge is power and we must be sure of the kind of knowledge we give to our children, especially in this era where people find it difficult to read,” Ogenyi said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that VSO, which was established in 1958, has offices in 23 countries across the globe. (NAN)

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