ECOWAS Commission Tasks Members on Increased Budget to Promote Education Accessibility and Inclusiveness of Persons with Disabilities

Africa, Misc., News, January 16 2020

NIGERIA: The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission has tasked member states on specific budgetary provisions to promote education accessibility and inclusiveness of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), refugees, returnees and stateless persons.

Logo of The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

Mr Emmanuel Okorodudu, Head of Division, Democracy and Good Governance, Department of Political Affairs and Regional Security in the ECOWAS Commission, made the call at the 2020 Celebration of ECOWAS Human Rights Day on Thursday, in Abuja.

Okorodudu said that PWDs, IDPs, refugees, returnees and stateless persons continued to face serious challenges, and had limited provision in accessing their rights to education.

“ECOWAS deemed it timely to promote these rights to give them the opportunity to enjoy their rights to education, and we intend to advocate all through 2020.

“We are encouraging our member states to look specifically at making budgetary provisions to support and create measures that will be institutionalised to promote the rights of these persons.

“In this regards we are looking at three pillars; one is to promote accessibility and inclusivity in the learning space of our member states.

“By this we believe ordinary citizens like these category of persons should be included in the learning space.

“Secondly, the need to create transformational schools should be institutionalised and taken into the budgetary planning of each member state’s ministry of education.

“Lastly, ECOWAS advocates for IDP, PWDs, returnees, refugees and stateless persons to have a space and total provisions in the educational planning on a yearly basis for each member state,’’ he said.

Okorodudu called for creation of specialised schools to be instituted within the content of educational policies of member states to ensure that curriculums and skills acquisition planning should be much more inclusive to carry all along.

Earlier, the Director, CDD-West Africa, Ms Idayat Hassan, who was represented by Mr Jasper Ukachukwu, Programme Officer, CDD called on member states to transform from Special Education Programmes for these groups to more institutionalised national education programmes.

Hassan said the programmes should be designed to fall within both National and ECOWAS regional standardised curriculum for general education of the entire region.

“ Undoubtedly, the realisation of this goal is hinged on the availability of adequate budgetary allocation and responsible governance in education social and humanitarian sectors.’’ she said.

Hassan urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), to work in close collaboration with the Education and Humanitarian Social Affairs Ministries to ensure that they adopted a human right-based approach in delivery of educational service.

This, she said should be with the view to ensure effectiveness and accountability in provision of educational services by these groups of citizens.

Mr Tony Ojukwu, Executive Secretary, NHRC, who was represented by Mr Okay Agu, Special Assistant and Head Monitoring Department, said the theme “upholding the right to education for Persons with Disabilities, Internally Displaced Persons’’ was apt.

Ojukwu said that the theme addressed some of the challenges currently facing Nigeria with regards to refugees, returnees and stateless persons.

He said that the importance of education for everyone could not be over emphasized, adding that Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provided that everyone had the right to education.

“The question that yearns for an answer is whether the provisions of the law pertaining to the right to education for Persons with Disabilities, IDPs, Refugees, Returnees and Stateless Persons are observed or enforced.

“The Commission seizes this opportunity to call on all critical stakeholders to make the commitment from today to ensure that the right to education for PWDs, IDPs refugees, returnees and stateless persons were observed in accordance with the letters and spirit of the law.

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