As deaf persons seek establishment of own university
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-THE federal government has asked private universities in the country to seek ways of funding themselves, saying it would not look their directions in funding.
The government’s response came on the heels of calls by proprietors of private universities for assistance in terms of funding.
The position of the government came when deaf persons in the country appealed to the former to establish a special university similar to Gallaudet University, Washington, for them.
Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, who stated government’s position Thursday, in Abuja, while playing host to a delegation of the Association of Deaf People in Nigeria.
Speaking at the occasion, Anwuka insisted that it was not the place of government to provide funding support to private universities in the country, insisting that proprietors of the private universities should be able to fund their institutions as the government would continue to provide a healthy and enabling environment for enhanced quality education delivery in Nigeria.
The Minister while responding to demands by the delegation accompanied by the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, said the government had made it known before now that providing a subvention to private universities could not be possible.
He urged the association to tidy up and perfect every document with the National Universities Commission (NUC) to enable the government act quickly on their demands.
He pledged the ministry’s support of the initiative while calling on the University of Wesley to encourage Nigerians who had studied abroad to return home.
Earlier, in their mission statement, the team leader of the group under the aegis of Association for the Deaf, Dr Khadijat Rashid, said they were at the Federal Ministry of Education to appeal to the Federal Government to establish a special University for the Deaf, after Gallaudet University, Washington.
Rashid explained that the special university would cater for over 17 million deaf people in the country.
The delegation also sought the support of the Minister towards ensuring the approval of the proposed campus for the Deaf at the Wesley University in Nigeria.
Dr Rashid, who is also the Dean, School of Education, Business and Human Services, Gallaudet University, Washington said the university was important to help the hearing impaired citizens experience university education.
Dr Rashid had said many deaf people who were Nigerians were working with the Wesley University owned by the Methodist Church of Nigeria.
He said:”We want the government of Nigeria to establish a deaf university in Nigeria that will help the over 17 million deaf citizens service their needs.
“Wesley university owned by the Methodist church is not depending on federal government funds to open a campus for the deaf. The university has other funding sources. What we want from the government is approval of our programmes and students should be encouraged to come and study at the university.
“We, therefore, seek the efforts and support of the ministry and the government of Nigeria to meet the yearnings of the special people in our nation.”
Rashid appealed that the disability bill before the National Assembly be passed into law as it had been in the Senate for the past 15 years without any development to its passage.
On his part, the Registrar, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede said the team had met with the board’s officials and that of the National Universities Commission, NUC, to fine-tune their demands.
Oloyede who corroborated the association’s demand said there was a need for the Federal Government to renew its commitment in support for the centre for the deaf in the country.
He said that the establishment of a deaf centre in Ilorin for over 30 years needed to come alive for the deaf citizens to actualize their dreams.
He added that after the establishment of the centres in Ilorin, funding had been stopped and this influenced the call for its resuscitation.
Prof Oloyede added that the establishment of such centres in five other geopolitical zones of the country would go a long way in meeting their needs.
According to him, there would be the need to establish and have signers in centres in the University of Maiduguri, University of Nigeria, University of Ibadan, University of Calabar and Bayero State University respectively.