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FCTA mulls educational facilities to accommodate disabled

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Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Mohammad Bello, has disclosed the administration’s plan to remodel some of the post primary schools in the territory to be more suitable for people living with disabilities.
Bello, who made the disclosure when he received a report on inclusive Education Policy in Abuja, said that draft policy on education for People Living with Disabilities would soon be ready.
The Minister, who was represented by FCT Permanent Secretary, Christian Ohaa, stated that three schools had already been selected in Abuja for the pilot project.
According to him, FCT had “set machinery in motion for implementing the building policy.”

He added that FCT would remodel and renovate three schools in the FCT as pilot scheme for this purpose. The schools are GSS Jabi, GSS Festival Road Garki and Pilot Science Primary School in Wuse Zone 5, Abuja.
He also assured that the,” FCTA is working to incorporate in its building policy, regulations that will ensure that new public building approvals, particularly for educational facilities, meet the standard for accessibility by children with special needs.
“Already I’ve seen the costing and the budget and from what I’ve seen, at least we would be able to fund immediately the three pilot schemes.

Hopefully, as we quickly finalize our 2018 budget, we will be able to accommodate the other ones.”
“What we are doing, along with other interventions, is something that would be more sustainable. We, as public officers, have to ensure that the policy is well entrenched, so that when officers change, the policy is still there” Bello noted.
Earlier in her presentation, National President, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) Ekaete Judith Umoh, informed the minister that Nigeria had assented to UN convention for inclusive education since 1994, but successive governments had no political will to implement it.

Umoh added, “that the FCT currently has an average of five special schools with the enrolment capacity of an average of 1,000 pupils per school, noting however that most special needs schools were lacking in basic educational infrastructure, human material and financial resource.

“The USAID thought it wise that they have to start this project in Nigeria, being a huge country, which plays a great role in Africa; that they have to test run inclusive education. They co-opted JONAPWD to first of all set up a policy that will run inclusive education. FCT, Kwara and Akwa Ibom states were chosen. For that of FCT, the work to champion the cause of inclusive education was placed on the education secretariat,” Umoh said.

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