‘Access to Digital Resources ‘ll Enhance Learning for People with Disabilities’
Stakeholders have stressed the need for policymakers and government to invest heavily in enabling tools and resources for the disabled persons to enhance their learning. According to them, access to digital resources will enhance learning for people with disabilities.
This consensus of opinion was reached during the November edition of EdTech Mondays, an initiative of the Mastercard Foundation in partnership with Co-Creation Hub. The virtual roundtable featured a three-man panelist that comprised the Founder and Executive Director of Disability Not A Barrier Initiative (DINABI), OlajideFunso Benjamin; Head of Programme, Disability Rights Advocacy Center, Amaka Ogwu and a Bio-medical Engineer, Oluwatomisin Kolawole.
In Nigeria, an estimated 32 million people, comprising mostly children, live with disabilities, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and at least 95.5 per centof these children are out of school, owing
to the challenges and barriers
they face in accessing
That is why disability rights advocates and concerned stakeholders have called on the private and public sectors to collaborate and make digital resources accessible to persons living with disabilities for the enhancement and promotion of inclusive learning.
Speaking at a roundtable session themed, ‘EdTech as an Enabler of Education for Learners with Disabilities’, Benjamin said that the state and situation of learners with disabilities in Nigeria are quite depressing. He noted that it will take the efforts of both the public and private sectors, especially in the area of investment and policy development to make it better.
“The status of learners with disabilities in Nigeria is in a deplorable state. While we practice special education here in Nigeria, most developed countries allow mainstream/inclusive education for persons with disabilities. Over the years, the education system for persons with disabilities in Nigeria has been largely underfunded. And I believe the lasting solution lies with stakeholders developing less expensive teaching aids, localizing software and applications to accommodate the peculiarities of the learners’ areas, and training personnel on the importance of technology to education”, he said.
While admitting that Nigeria lacks the policies needed to enhance learning for persons with disabilities, he urged policy-makers to review the national education policy in order to accommodate the use of EdTech that will support learners with disabilities.
Also speaking, Kolawole stressed the need to provide capacity-building skills on the use of digital resources both for the teachers and the learners as this would go a long way to solving challenges associated with the use of these resources and making learning easy.
On her part, Ogwu, who identified poor learning environment and misconception around comprehension as major challenges affecting learners who are disabled stated that effort should be made by stakeholders in providing tools or resources that are tailored to their needs.