Civil Society Organisations have fostered partnership to deepen the inclusion of Persons With Disabilities(PWDs) in education governance in Lagos State.
This is contained in a Communique signed by Mr Samuel Ajayi , Programmes Officer, Human Development Initiatives (HDI) on Tuesday in Lagos.
The one day consultative partnership building among CSOs which held on Sept. 28, was organized by HDI with the support of the Disability Rights Fund in active collaboration with The Irede Foundation and Festus Fajemilo Foundation .
The communique recommended that the Lagos State School Based Management Committee (SBMC) policy be reviewed to include Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) in the composition of SBMC in all schools in Lagos State.
According to it, all regular schools should have at least one representative of PWD; while in inclusive schools, SBMCs should have at least two clusters represented on a rotational basis of three years and two tenures.
The communique called for the deepening of the reach and impact of the Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs (LASODA) and ease access of persons with disabilities to the services of the agency.
It appealed to the Lagos State Government to decentralize the agency across the the five divisions (IBILE) in the State.
It said that the current Lagos State Inclusive Education policy should be reviewed based on the current Sustainable Development Goals and in alignment with the reviewed National Inclusive Education Policy.
“In accordance with the Lagos State Inclusive education policy, OPDs should be involved in school census, monitoring and evaluation of all-inclusive schools in the State,” the communique said.
The communique earlier commended the Lagos State Government for the innovations introduced into the teaching and learning experience in schools .
The communique, however, raised salient issues for the attention of the Lagos State Government as it concerned fast-tracking the review and implementation of the Lagos State inclusive education policy, in addition to the governance of education at the school level.
“The exclusion of PWDs in the composition of SBMC in Lagos State is a major setback in achieving full inclusion in the governance of education as espoused by the Sustainable Development Goal and the national policy on inclusive education as revised.
“Centralization of LASODA in the State secretariat is limiting the reach of the agency and making access difficult for PWDs and parents of PWDs, especially those from distant and hard-to-reach communities.
“The inclusive education policy of Lagos is overdue for review. It was drafted in 2012 and signed in 2015 based on the Millennium Development Goals. Based on the global best practice, policies are to be reviewed after 5 years. Furthermore, the policy should have been reviewed in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Difficulty accessing schools for monitoring by OPDs at the secondary school level, contrary to the Lagos State policy on inclusive education (Section 7.0 which emphasizes CSOs/NGO involvement in school census, monitoring and evaluation of the policy),” the Communique said.
It said that the forum had in attendance the representative of the Commissioner and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education (MoE), and the representative of the Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LASUBEB) .
Others included (LASODA); Executives of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Civil Society Organizations such as (CSACEFA), the President of Deaf Teachers Association of Nigeria (DTAN), media and members of SBMC