‘Special education needs attention’
The Federal College of Education (Special), Oyo was established to care for the needs of special students. For the past 40 years, the institution has been training the physically challenged, thereby contributing hugely to national development.
Speaking at a press conference to mark the 40th anniversary celebration of the institution, the Provost, Professor Kamoru Olayiwola Usman, said the institution remained the only one of its kind, not only in Nigeria but in sub-Saharan Africa, where the interests of the less privileged were paramount to the management.
He said the institution employed more of the physically challenged than any other organisation, adding that it has provision for sign language interpreters and braillists in every lecture room or hall to support those with hearing or visual impairment.
He said the institution did not discriminate in its admission which made it to have the largest number of students and staff with disability.
The provost, however, pointed out some peculiar challenges facing the institution and urged corporate organisations and philanthropists across the country to come to the rescue of the institution.
He said, “It is not gainsaying that the management of special education requires a colossal financial outlay. We need to construct structures tailored to the needs of the handicapped.
“We need to employ more sign interpreters and braillists for every class and lecture room. We also need specialised equipment like braille machines, wheel chairs, special computers and other resource materials.
“Our road networks need to be improved upon; we want advanced laboratories. The Multi-purpose ICT Training (MICT) centres for persons with disabilities are also useful for our students.
“We need 1,000 bed-space female and male hostels. Ultimately, we need vehicles for movement of students,” he stated.
“When I came on board, I established SPED Bakery to improve our IGR. I commissioned the new school of secondary education building. Our power generating set is now in good shape. I established the directorate of procurement; and I introduced digital identity cards for staff and students.
“We have established a school of early childhood care; got accreditation for more programmes; upgraded our health department, conducted seminars and workshops for staff, ensured higher qualifications for staff abroad; and secured NCCE approval for three campuses of the college at Ibadan for NCE sandwich and part-time programme,” Professor Usman disclosed.
Others he said are, “Establishment of gas plant in the college, SPED/MEED Internet project and the commissioning of solar energy inverter, among other numerous achievements.”
He said the physically challenged students of the institution played football and engaged in other sporting events.
“Our special students, even the blind, play football and other sporting events. They do what other people do,” he said.