Kwara: Professor Seeks Education For People With Special Needs
A Professor of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Olubukola Dada has called on stakeholders in the education sector to address the growing number of out of school individuals who have intellectual disability to ensure the attainment of the sustainable development goal four (SDG4).
Professor Dada who made this call while delivering the 13th Inaugural Lecture of Kwara State University, Malete, titled “Despondency, Despair and Hope, Tales of Intellectual Disability in Special Needs Education”, stated that children with intellectual disability should not be left out from getting qualitative education, which would make them productive members of the society.
The Don, who is the 1st female Professor to deliver an inaugural lecture, and the 1st female Professor in the Faculty of Education in KWASU, noted that more often, persons living with disabilities are marginalised and disproportionately poor because they are excluded from education, employment, and political processes because of their communication, physical, and sensory impairments, making them more dependent.
The lecturer who emphasised that persons with disabilities suffer more abuse from parents and other adults identified the abuse to range from physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect.
She added that while persons with disability are sexual beings and deserve equal rights and opportunities to have access to their sexuality, misconceptions about disability have negatively affected many from marrying persons with disabilities.
“To think or vehemently oppose the idea of persons with disabilities getting married means the society considers them as lesser human beings who are not fit to mingle with those without special needs.
“This is not only gross injustice, but violation of their fundamental right like any other person.
“Although marriage is a personal issue between two interested people, once they show interest, they should not be discouraged; they should rather be encouraged and supported”, she stated.
Professor Dada recommended greater societal acceptance of people with special needs, stressing the importance of school curriculum, which ensures that no child is left behind.
While she commended the management of Kwara State University for taking the lead with the establishment of the disability support office for staff and students of the institution who have disabilities, she also called for increased funding of special and inclusive schools in the country with periodic evaluation of the schools and personnel.
She advocated prompt rehabilitation and upgrade of special and inclusive schools to be fitted with modern facilities to create conducive learning environments for children with special needs, pointing out the need for appropriate technology to improve the quality of life of persons living with disability.
“No doubt persons with disability would continue to be part of humanity as people can acquire a disability status at any age.
“Having a disability, especially intellectual disability, should not exclude people from discovering and pursuing their aspirations in life, a way to change despondency and despair to hope, to make life more meaningful for persons living with disability.” she stressed.
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