Conference Theme: Global Perspective on Inclusive Education
Date: 11-14 June, 2018
Venue: University Auditorium/Chike Okoli Entrepreneurial Centre, Organised by Faculty of Education, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria.
The welcome address was read by the vice chancellor Prof Joseph E. Ahaneku, FAS and the Dean faculty of Education, Prof Nkechi Patricia-Mary Esomonu respectively. The chairman of the occasion was Prof Sam Omenyi.
Keynote presenter was Prof Martin E. Block who equally presented a supporting paper at Chike Okoli Entrepreneurial centre on 13th June, 2018.
Prof Claire Boursier presented a lead paper. Over 200 participants attended the opening ceremony at the university auditorium. A total of seventy-two (72) papers were presented during the plenary sessions that took place at the Chike Okoli Entrepreneurial Centre.
Participants deliberated on a number of issues centering on the theme and sub-themes of the conference. The following observations were made in the course of discussion:
- That the Nigerian Government seem not to have implemented the international framework on inclusive education. This is worrisome more especially when the Federal Government of Nigeria is a signatory to these international laws on inclusive education.
- There is a practical evidence that most countries in the world have abolished dichotomized education system labelled “Special Education” whereas it is being practiced in the Nigerian educational system.
- Children with disabilities are being discriminated against by the family, school, and the community.
- Assistive facilities for individuals with disabilities are grossly inadequate in majority of structures found in most tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
In the light of the above, the following resolutions were made:
- Children with disabilities in home schools should be placed in age- appropriate classrooms using the principles of natural proportions, providing supplementary aids and services; viewing special education as service not a placement.
- Training teachers to facilitate the inclusion of children with disabilities, teachers who will feel very confident in their ability to include children with disabilities in their programs.
- All tiers of government and stakeholders in education should show commitment in funding inclusive education and by providing supportive services.
- Teachers need inclusive values such as patience, tolerance, fairness, equality, empathy, affection, confidence, trust, passion and respect as well as pedagogical strategies such as encouraging peer-assisted learning, providing individualized attention and approach for effective inclusive education.
- Government and non-governmental organizations involved in inclusive education should address such barriers to inclusive education like inadequate policies and standards, negative attitude, beliefs and prejudices, poor funding and lack of accessibility.
- There is need for advocacy for inclusive education and plan for action at all levels of government-state, local and federal.
- The government should address discriminatory legislations in order to promote inclusive education in Nigeria.
- Since there is international obligation to promote inclusive education, the Nigerian Government should participate in implementing the legal framework. It is equally important for Nigeria Government to take drastic measures to foist on the various agents involved in implementing legal decisions on inclusive education.
- Nigerian teachers, education managers, policy makers, faculties of education and legal practitioners should recognize the basic legal rights of children with disabilities to equal, adequate, and inclusive education. They should also robustly secure, implement and protect this right.
- Policy makers should make policies that will provide for a more accessible environment for individuals with disabilities in order to facilitate inclusive education opportunities in Nigeria.
- There is obvious need for physical educators to practice inclusion in General Physical Education (GPE) class to accommodate children with disabilities.
Ogu Okey Charles
Representing African Region in IFAPA Board