E-learning platforms have become the norm in recent times. However, do special needs children enjoy the perks of E-learning?
Special needs children fall within the ambit of people leaving with Disabilities. Hence, they are covered under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD).
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) was opened for ratification on the 30th March, 2007 and it came into force on the 3rd day of May, 2008. Nigeria ratified the Convention in 2007 alongside it’s Optional Protocol in 2010.
Unfortunately, it took the Nigerian government eight(8) years to sign the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Protection) Act, 2018
The essence of the above act is to ensure full intergration of persons with disabilities into the society. The Act established the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) and the Commission is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that persons living with disabiility in Nigeria have unfettered access to education, healthcare, social, economic and civil rights.
Rights of Special Needs Children to Education in Nigeria
Specifically, Sec 17 of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Protection) Act, provides that a person with disabiility have an unfettered right to education without discrimination or segregation in any form. They are entitled to free education up to secondly school level. Furthermore, it mandated the Commission to provide the educational assistive devices needed.
Sec 18 of the Act, provides for the principle of “inclusiveness”. All public schools must have special facilities for the effective education of persons with disabiility. Also, a trained personnel must be employed to cater for the educational development of persons with Disabilities.
Sec 20 of the Act, specifically mandates the government to ensure that the education of persons with disabilities, particularly children who are blind, deaf and with multiple disabilities is delivered in the most appropriate language mode and means of communication and in environments which maximizes academic and social development.
The Reality As it Concerns Special Needs Children in Nigeria
Sadly, the provisions of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Protection) Act, 2018 is yet to be fully enforced in Nigeria particularly with reference to the unfettered right to access education. Also, it is worthy to note that the specific commission mandated under the Act to ensure that Persons living with disabilities enjoy these rights is yet to established by the Federal government in practical and physical terms.
In order to ensure that the United Nations mantra “Education for All” i.e. SDG’S no. 4 is achieved, the Federal Government is hereby urged to take speedy steps towards ensuring that the National Commission for Persons with Disabiility is established. Pending the forgoing, governments at all levels, NGO’S, Media . With the adoption of e-learning platforms by a good number of public schools, the full integration of the special needs children is not guaranteed.
Organizations are encouraged to ensure that Children living with disabiilities are carried along in the various e-learning programmes and platforms in place to keep the children busy.
Keywords: Education for All, CRPD, Disability rights; E-learning
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