‘Spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion needs at­ten­tion’

Daily Trust - - DIGEST - From Jeremiah Oke, Ibadan

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.

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