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People Living With Disabilities Cry Out Over Challenges To Fund Their Educational Needs




People Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) in Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna State have appealed to the State Government to set up a special education grant for their members.

Naija News learnt that Malam Kamilu Ashafa, Chairman of the group, made the appeal in an interview with newsmen earlier today in Zaria.

Ashafa said the state government should set up a special scholarship scheme for such category of persons to enable them to pursue their education with ease.

He noted that people with different kinds of disabilities would have a better chance of living better and have a quality life in future if given the opportunity to have access to a sound education.

He listed some of the PLWDs as those with poor or no eyesight, unable to walk or hear, and those with complex intellectual or mental health challenges among others.

According to him, any of these conditions can be overcome only when government and community support the education of people living with disabilities.

He lamented that at the moment, there was no education subsidy either in the form of support for writing materials or scholarship for people living with disabilities in Kaduna state.

We commend the Kaduna State Government for introducing free and compulsory education from primary one to Junior secondary school, as well as free education for the girl child up to senior secondary school. “This is quite commendable, but what about people with special needs like us, don’t the government thinks that we need educational support even more than the normal people?

“Because we are disabled, we have to attend special schools, usually boarding schools and we spend about N20,000 to purchase boarding materials or items. “It is also important to know that as special students, we need more writing materials than normal students. What a normal student will write in a sheet of paper, a special student will write in five or 10.

“At the completion of secondary school, we pay the same examination fee for National Examination Council (NECO) or West African Examination Council (WAEC) with normal children. “Even when we eventually get to higher institutions, there is no form of support from the government,” Ashafa said.

The chairman pointed out that most parents of people with disabilities were poor, while some of the disabled persons were orphans.

The chairman added that at the moment, most disabled people had to relocate to the southern part of the country to beg for alms to be able to raise money to pay for either NECO, WAEC, JAMB or school fees for tertiary institutions.

“Some of us had to travel to as far as Lagos or Port Harcourt because there is no way we can generate much money from begging in the North to feed and save for school fees or other educational needs.”Eventually, most of us drop out of school and stick to begging on the streets.

“We really need government to encourage and support us to acquire education to better out future,” Ashafa.

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Contacted, the state Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology, Ja’afaru Sani, assured the PLWDs that the government would ensure inclusive and equitable access to quality education in the state for all. Sani said that the ministry would ensure that special schools and special children receive special attention in terms of basic infrastructure, teaching materials and quality teachers.