A coalition of civil society organisations, Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room and Albino Foundation on Tuesday in Abuja called on the Federal Government to infuse disability study into school curriculum to address stigmatisation.
They made the call at a Dialogue Session on Disability Inclusion in Nigeria organised by the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room and Albino Foundation with support from UK Foreign, Communication and Development Office.
Prof. Douglas Anele, University of Lagos in his presentation, said that there was need to include disability study in civic education where citizenship and social issues were taught.
According to Anele, the understanding of disability and inclusiveness is necessary to catch the children young and forestall subsequent behaviour of stigmatisation and insults borne out of ignorance.
He said this was necessary, so that by the time they left primary school and went further, they would have had some reasonable ideas about what disability was and how to treat people with disability.
“This will ensure that they do not engage in behaviours that tend to discriminate against fellow students simply because of their disability.
“So, it is very important that this is done so that by the time they grow into adulthood, they would have developed reasonable ways of engaging with people living with different forms of disabilities.
“Every human being is living with one form of disability or the other.
“So, we need to teach our children what disability is, that it does not make somebody less of a human being and that it is a challenge that can be overcome,” he said.
Anele urged NGOs to continue advocacy on efforts to remove social cultural impediments, barriers and misconceptions surrounding some sets of people like the out-cast and so on.
He said that there were lots of unfounded ideas about generational curses and about “the sins of the forefathers’’ being visited upon the children thereby suffering the things they knew nothing about.
“It is high time we removed them and look at issues scientifically from a human point of view because segregation and stigmatisation lead to mental and emotional disability which often time culminate in suicide.
Anele said that education remained key in addressing these issues thus the emphasis on including disability studies in school curriculum with topics that deals with disability inclusion among others.
The Founder Albino Foundation, Mr Jake Epelle, said that the foundation worked with the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) responsible for curriculum development to develop curriculum that would address issues surrounding albinism.
Epelle said that there should be a special curriculum that would address some of the gaps in the education sector, like accessibility and technological devices to help visually impaired and gaps of e-learning for Persons Living With Disabilities (PWDS) .
He also advocated for special funding for intervention that has to do with PWDs to cater for their needs educationally.
Epelle said that the foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Afe Babalola University to start albinism institute, so that medical doctors could be trained as consultants in the area of albinism.
He added that the MoU was a breakthrough development for albinism in Nigeria.
Mrs Esther Uzoma, Convener, Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room said that the dialogue session was organised in collaboration with Albino foundation based on the group’s belief in inclusivity.
Uzoma said that Situation Room was committed to opening the civic space for all and ensuring that everybody was accommodated and carried along in spheres and sectors in Nigeria .
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola