A disability group, Sightsavers, has called on the government of Nigeria to ensure that children with disabilities are not left out in the coming global education summit.
Sightsavers made the call as Nigeria President, Muhammadu Buhari travel to the United Kingdom on Monday to participate in the Global Education Summit on Financing Global Partnership for Education (GPE) 2021-2025.
According to the disability group, “Nigeria has the greatest number of children out of school in the world – approximately 10 million. Most of these children aren’t in school because of barriers relating to poverty, gender and disability, and their situation has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The group disclosed that it and many other campaigners have sent a letter to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, calling for clear policy commitments for children with disabilities ahead of the summit in London, scheduled for July 28 and 29.
“At the Summit global leaders will be making five-year pledges to fund the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). This Summit has the potential to transform the lives of millions of children,” Sightsavers said in a statement.
According to a statement by Buhari’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the Minister of Education will be traveling with the President to attend the summit.
In explaining the importance of inclusive education to children with disabilities, Sightsavers quoted a student with disability, Zaliha, who said, “At school, I meet new friends and I learn new things, so I know what life is about. If I would have stayed home without going to school, I wouldn’t have known these things. I am calling on the government to help us because there are many girls with disabilities, like me, who would love to be in school, but their parents can’t afford tuition.”
The group noted that in recent years, the Nigerian government has made slight significant investment in making the country’s education system more inclusive and accessible, adding that more needs to be done in reaching the children with disabilities, particularly girls who were being left behind.
Sightsavers’ Country Director for Nigeria, Dr. Sunday Isiyaku, said: “Ahead of the Global Education Summit, I would like to advocate to the government of Nigeria and civil society organizations to make a strong policy commitment towards social inclusion, specifically on inclusive education. Nigeria is one of the countries with the highest number of out-of-school children in the world thus we need strong commitment on policy change and more funding to ensure all learners with disabilities have access to equitable, quality, and accessible learning environment.”