From Taiwo Oluwadare, Ibadan
A special school in Ibadan, Aisha Ubaji Special school has lamented high numbers of Out-of-School Special-Need children in the country as indices for bleak future of children living with disability.
The Proprietress of the school, Mrs. Aisha Ubaji while speaking during an interview in Ibadan noted that there is need for private individuals, government and corporate organizations to intervene by funding and enhancing increasing enrollment of the children in special schools as a way to salvage their bleak future.
According to Ubaji, the situation of special education in Nigeria is not encouraging noting that comparing situation here to abroad, Nigeria is lagging far behind.
She said: “In other developed countries, the governments really take care of their children living with disability because they understand their importance and situations. The governments and people there support the children living with disability in every possible way, including education.
We thank Prince Paul Adelabu, Former Special Adviser to Immediate past Governor Abiola Ajimobi in Oyo state and National Leader for the people living with disability in Nigeria, for his giant stride in trying to find lasting solutions to this. Also, we thank President Buhari for signing the bill of the disability persons into law which was passed by the National Assembly.
We are equally urging the government to quicken the implementation”.
“In Aisha Ubaji Special School , our target is to boost the educational needs of special children to suit the societal growth, the essence is to close the gap between regular and special children so that the children living with disability will not feel discriminated by finding themselves in same environment with regular children.
“Many children are kept at home because their parents feel ashamed of their condition and that is why government need to come up with policies to address this challenge facing the children.
Speaking on activities of the school in caring for the children living with disability, Ubaji said the school was established and received approval from Oyo State Ministry of Education in 2017 to educate Special Need Children.
She also said that the school runs vocational trainings with various skills in a conducive environment to enhance their skill acquisition while the teachers are doing well to improve on the children’s performance.
“We have about five hectares of land. We need support from individuals and corporate organizations to assist in developing it and the donors’ names will be acknowledged as contributors. We are in the process of writing to the present Minister of Youths and Sport, Sunday Dare to support in the form of public partnership to establish a mini-stadium on the land that the children living with disability can use for sporting and games activities.
“The school population should have soared up than this but parents are not enlightened enough to educate their special children because their focus are on regular children.
“Presently, the financial needs of the school is high, teachers salary, feeding of those in the boarding, care givers -medical, structural maintenance and management.
“As a result, we face a lot of financial challenges. We are using this opportunity to call for sponsors for the children and support for the school.
“In order to reduce discrimination between regular and special children, we made the school an all inclusive school where both challenged and the not challenged children can attend the school but there was still misconceptions: many of the parents will say “how can we bring our normal children to a disabled school.
“Our vision is to make the school expanded to higher institutional level, if not university, at least polytechnic level and I’ll like good spirited Nigerians to assist”, Ubaji stated.