By Ebele Orakpo
To ensure inclusive, quality and free education for all in Lagos State, a non-governmental organisation, Human Development Initiatives, HDI, in partnership with Action Aid Nigeria, has called on the Lagos State Government to pay more attention to the education needs of children, particularly girls and disabled groups.
HDI made this known during an advocacy and awareness walk to the Lagos State House of Assembly, Ikeja.
The rally was part of its activities to mark the 2019 Global Action Week for Education with the theme: Making the Right to an Inclusive, Equitable, Quality and Free Education a Reality.
Speaking during the walk, the Coordinator, Samuel Ajayi, reiterated the need to make school infrastructure user-friendly for everyone, especially persons with disability.
He called on Lagos State Govt. to increase budgetary allocation and expenditure on education and make policies on public education more sensitive to the rights of children and other marginalised groups.
Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disability, Danlami Basharu, lamented the lack of access to education among disabled persons.
Basharu, who is also the Director of the Anglo-Nigerian Welfare Association for the Blind, said facilities for the education of disabled persons are not available and teachers are not properly trained, adding: “They should be provided the same inclusive, quality education like other children in the same environment. It’s not enough to put children with disability and those without disability in a classroom without providing them with the necessary wherewithal for their education.”
Speaking, Chairman, Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Education, Hon. Lanre Ogunyemi, acknowledged the necessity for quality education in the state. He observed that although the state budget for education was not yet “there”, added that “it has always been very reasonable.
“It is not just for us to appropriate the funds, it is necessary we ensure judicious utilisation of those funds in order to ensure we give quality education to our children.
“We must look at every challenge that confronts the education sector. How many of our children are out of school? How are we sure we are giving the same quality of education to every child in the state; whether such a child is in Somolu, Ibeju-Lekki, or the extreme end of Badagry?
“How do we ensure he or she enjoys the same level of education with those in high-brow areas? These are some of our concerns,” he added.