In pursuant of the global goal of ensuring that no one is left behind especially children living with disabilities, the Inclusive Education Alliance (IEA) has sought Rivers State Universal Education Board’s (RSUEB) to partnership in driving inclusive education implementation process in the state.
The leader of the team, Ngozichukwuka Obiyo, made the request when the group paid a courtesy visit to the Executive Chairman of RSUEB, Dr Fyneface Akah in his office.
She informed that Inclusive Education Alliance (IEA) was a collaborative network of stakeholders formed by Lifeline Organization for Children Empowerment (LOCE) under the EU-ACT Grant.
She told the board that it was impossible for the IEA to operate without the board hinting that the alliance was made up of 5 Line Ministries, Civil Society Bodies, Human Right Organizations, Legal Bodies, Special Educators and Parents.
The Executive Director of LOCE who requested for partnership with the board and asked the board to authorise IEA to sensitise inclusive schools communities as well as schools receiving the intervention funds to ensure that the children left behind are enrolled in the schools as their families may not know about the existence of such facilities.
She also sought the board’s permission to map up children with disabilities and their needs in the state as there are no reliable data with respect to the population of these children.
On his part, the chairman of Civil Society Network in Rivers State,Mr Enefa Georgewill stressed the importance of the board’s support in enhancing the quality of the work to be done by the IEA emphasising that the implementation of Inclusive Education rested with the board.
He urged the board to beyond funding Basic Education consciously enforce Inclusive Education stressing that the partnership would beef up Inclusiveness Education implementation in the state.
He also mentioned that IEA was working on the framework that will enforce the policy direction within the state as regards persons with disability rights and stressed the need to ensure that children living with disabilities are not left behind.
Also speaking, a visually impaired counselling psychologist, Mr Udeme maintained that every member of the society requires quality education regretting that the facilities within the state do not encourage Inclusive Education.
He said partnering with the board would help strengthen the system as Government action was very relevant for the enforcement of this concept to ensure that even visually impaired learners like him were not left behind.
“We all live in the same system and community that accesses the same facilities and therefore education should not be segregated”, he stated.
In his response,the Executive Chairman of Rivers State Universal Education Board (RSUEB), Dr Fyneface Akah expressed readiness to work with Inclusive Education Alliance (IEA) and commended the group’s resolve to stand with the Government on the issue of Inclusive Education.
He noted that IEA would not only create awareness but ensure that inclusive education becomes a reality in the public schools and gave the team authority to access the inclusive schools domiciled in the three senatorial districts in the state so as to verify their status and report back to the board.
“when we have our funds for this special school project, we now know the public schools to channel the resources to and with you people on ground working with the board, am sure that when the supervising board of the UBEB from the Federal Ministry comes, they will see that we have gone a step further beyond what we were doing over the years with the funds that are coming here”.
He also requested for special training of teachers adding that teaching children with special needs is an area of difficulty as finding right teachers are hard and expressed hope that partnering with IEA would ensure capacity building for teachers who would be well prepared to support the teaching and learning experience in those schools.
He commended the group’s passion which according to him has deepened the passion of the board for Inclusion Education and promised to work with the Alliance ‘s advice especially on infrastructure and instructional resources equitable distribution.