MAKING COVID-19 EDUCATION INTERVENTIONS ACCESSIBLE TO CHILDREN AND YOUNGSTERS WITH DISABILITIES IN LAGOS STATE, NIGERIA: TO BE IMPLEMENTED BY THE DAUGHTERS OF CHARITY OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL, IN COLLABORATION WITH THE LAGOS STATE CHAPTER OF THE JOINT NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (JONAPWD) AND FESTUS FAJEMILO FOUNDATION
The COVID19 pandemic has had significant impact on the education sector globally. Governments across the world have had to shut down schools as part of measures to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus especially amongst children. However, efforts are now being made towards using the electronic media and various internet platforms to deliver education programs to children in their homes.
In Nigeria, schools have been shut-down since mid-March 2020, however, national and subnational education agencies have also adopted the use of the media including radio, TV, as well as social media platforms like telegram, WhatsApp, Facebook, zoom, etc to deliver classes to primary and secondary school pupils and students respectively. The classes mostly focus on core subjects including mathematics, English language, and the sciences. A careful appraisal of these media-based classes in Lagos state indicate the near absence of provisions for the inclusion of, and accessibility for children with disabilities (CWDs). For instance, classes delivered through television have no sign language interpreters for children with hearing disability while the language of instructions does not often consider the needs of children with visual disability. The use of graphics is also not tailored for children with intellectual disabilities. In addition, the classes on radio are completely out of the reach of children with hearing disability.
In view of these shortcomings, the Lagos State Chapter of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) has made preliminary contacts with the Lagos State Ministry of Education and the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LASUBEB) respectively to formally present its concerns on the need for a quick review and adaptation of the on-going E-classes on radio, TV and social media for the benefit of CWDs; so far, the situation still remains the same despite this expression of concern to government authorities, so these children are currently left behind, despite the recognition of the rights of CWDs to qualitative and functional education as provided for in relevant legal and policy frameworks of the Lagos State government, and in line with other relevant national and international laws and statutes.
Inclusive education is part of the core strategy of the child empowerment programme and the Daughters of Charity are already collaborating with the Lagos State chapter of JONAPWD and Festus Fajemilo Foundation to strengthen inclusive education in Lagos State. Lagos State remains the epicentre of the COVID 19 pandemic in Nigeria; with over 2,600 cases and a growing rate of daily infections, it is unlikely that schools will be opened soon. As part of the provision of success to inclusive education during this lockdown period, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we would like to provide support towards adapting the E-classes of the Lagos State government to meet the needs of CYWDs for their participation and inclusion.
The goal of this intervention is equal participation and inclusion of children and youngsters with disabilities in the ongoing E-learning (necessitated by the COVID 19 pandemic), for the delivery of quality education.
- To adapt audio-visual instructions into sign language interpreted instructions for children with hearing disability.
- To adapt appropriate infographics and simplified content for children with intellectual and learning disabilities.
- To strengthen capacity of the E-class instructors in the use of appropriate disabilityinclusive language for the needs of children with visual and intellectual/learning disabilities.
- To raise awareness of parents and guardians on the availability and use of the media for delivery of school lessons in view of the on-going COVID-19 lockdown.
The following activities will be implemented in line with the stated objectives—
- Mobilization and deployment of qualified sign language interpreters for the adaptation of on-going E-classes on radio, TV, and social media platforms.
- Adaptation of separate special primary-level classes for children with hearing, visual and intellectual/learning disabilities respectively to meet their basic or elementary school needs.
- Conduct of short online training on Disability Inclusive Skills for instructors already being used for the E-classes on radio, TV, and social media.
- Media engagement for sensitization of stakeholders about E-classes for CWDs through radio, V. social media, head teacher of each of the 44 inclusive primary and secondary schools and 5 special schools in Lagos State, as well as through the leaders of DPOs, CSOs.
The following outputs are envisaged at the end of this project —
- Sign language interpreters are provided for the adaptation of E-classes on radio, TV, and social media.
- Appropriate infographics and simplified content available for children with intellectual and learning disabilities.
- Instructors of the E-classes on radio and TV able to use and communicate with appropriate disability-inclusive language for the needs of children with visual disability and those with intellectual/learning disabilities.
- Parents and guardians of CWDs are aware of E-classes on radio, TV, and social mediaand able to support their CWDs to participate effectively.
- It is anticipated that the E-classes will help CYWDs sustainmemory of knowledge gained in the previous school term before the COVID-19 lockdown, while helping them to prepare for the up-coming 3rdterm which was delayed due to the current pandemic.
- The CYWDs will have acquired additional learning skill, using the
- social Media platforms
This intervention is designed to run between 28th May – 14th August 2020. This is in line with the preliminary discussions of JONAPWD with the Lagos State government during which JONAPWD was informed that the program would run for 10 weeks.
This intervention is designed for 2, 000 CYWDs enrolled in the 44 inclusive primary, junior and senior secondary schools and those enrolled in 5 Special Centres and Schools within Lagos State.