A member of Oyo state House of Assembly, representing Ogbomoso North State Constituency, Hon. Bisi Oluranti Oyewo-Michael, has urged the current administration under the leadership of Governor Seyi Makinde to develop, monitor, and ensure implementation of policies required to make qualitative and quantitative education accessible to children and young adults with special educational needs in all communities in the state.
The lawmaker, who made the call on Wednesday while moving a motion on the ‘Need To Renovate Special Basic Schools In Oyo State And Equip Them With Assistive Learning Technologies And Human Reasources’, noted that fate primarily has burdened special students with either physical or mental challenge that makes prompt learning a daunting task.
According to her, unconducive learning environment, shortage of trained teachers, inadequate guidance services, inadequate plan for the identification of special needs of individual students and many more are additional problems special students wrestle with in their quest to access quality education.
She further stated that the condition of learning environment and availability of basic infrastructure in Special schools in Oyo State is in need of redress, stressing that studies have shown that the quality of environment and infrastructural facilities of schools have profound impact in the teaching and learning outcomes of both teachers and students.
The motion read in part: “The Home School for Handicapped children in Ijokodo is a takeoff point. This school which has both days and boarding students is faced with myriads of problems ranging from lack of funds, dilapidated physical structures, inadequate teaching and learning paraphernalia; inadequate teachers, hostel and medical staff. The uniqueness of this school evident in the different categories of special students it teaches requires that special and periodic financial intervention be given to it.
“Four categories of special students are taught in this school. The educable and trainable, these categories are amenable to learning and are easy to control compare to their counterparts categorized as profound and severe. These other categories require more attention and mostly, they eat, play and go home.
“Aware that all Special basic schols in Oyo State such as, Oyo State Special Basic School, Ogbomoso, HLA Special Basic School, Agodi Gate, Ibadan, Oyo Special Basic School, Durbar, Oyo, Community Special Basic School, Oke Ora, Ogbomoso, Special Basic School Saki, Special Basic School, Ekunle, Iseyin, Special basic school Okeho, Kajola umong others are also in dire need of renovation.
“As stated above, classroom blocks are dilapidated, school toilets are in terrible conditions and chairs and tables are damaged. Some of the various means to get the attention of these students is to feed them properly and provide serene and colourful environment that helds their attention. This an approach which is most times difficult because of funding. Many of these students who stay in the hostel eat more than ordinary students. This is besides the serious hygienic attention that some of the students require. Many of them would defecate and urinate on their body or on the floor requiring constant cleaning.”
The motion, which had O.C Olajide Ibadan North 1), Rt. Hon. E.A Ogundoyin (Ibarapa East), Speaker and Hon. S.A Onaolapo (Ogbomoso South) Leader of the House as co-sponsors, however maintained that the students with special educational needs equally have medical crisis that necessitates standby first aids providers.
While calling for more hands to care for needs of the students, the mover and co-sponsors of the motion urged the Governor Seyi Makinde’s administration to further make frantic efforts to increase accessibility to primary education and improve standard through free education policy as well as provision of instructional materials specifically for the Special schools in Oyo State.
They emphasized that the difficulties the inadequacy of the materials, basic facilities, and human resources pose, especially to special students would further set back efforts put into educating them.
Among modern assistive technologies listed by Hon. Bisi Oluranti include Speech Programs, Communicators, Timers, Computer Keyboards, Switch-Adapted Learning Toys, as well as other basic modern technologies employed globally to aid the learning process of students with special needs.
Also, periodic training of teachers to be able to identify the individual educational need of each special student and design local programs with the aid of available technologies should also be embraced as well as the introduction of occupational therapy and speech therapy which will go a long way in giving these students the best they deserve.
Bisi-Oluranti however implored the House to urge the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to urgently embark on the renovation of all Special basic schools in Ovo State, intensify periodic inspections of Special schools to quickly identify their needs and ensure timely provision, employ more staff into Special schools in Oyo State, train and retrain teachers in Special Schools to enable them deliver quality teaching to students.
Additionally, she urged the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Inclusion to support the Special schools in the State through its various humanitarian intervention programmes, and to provide assistive technologies to Oyo State’s Special Basic Schools in order to improve the teaching and learning experience for special students.