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Experts seek e-learning for special students

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Technology should be utilized when teaching students who have special needs.

Nigerian special education specialists have called for the inclusion and implementation of e-learning in the country’s special education curriculum. Speaking as a keynote speaker at the three-day conference that kicked off on June 6, 2023, at the Conference Hall, Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, with the theme: “Application of E-Learning in Teaching and Learning for Learners with Special Needs in Nigeria,” Professor Olufemi Fakolade, Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Ibadan pointed out the widespread adoption of e-learning has made it possible for students who have special educational requirements to succeed.

Continuing their remarks during the 34th National Conference of the Nigeria Association of Special Education Teachers, the experts stressed the need to utilize technology in the classroom when teaching students who have special needs. Children who are unable to overcome some of the obstacles that lead to their exclusion from the education system can benefit from e-learning, which helps make it possible for these children to be included. According to Prof. Fakolade, it is a useful addition to traditional classroom practices, including teacher education and inclusive pedagogy.

Emerging technology must be deployed in the education sector.

Professor Christiana Dada of Kwara State University Faculty of Education also delivered his speech and presented the paper titled “Best Practices and Implementation Strategies in ICT Usage for Students with Special Needs”, remarking that despite the many obstacles, e-learning can be successfully implemented when teaching students with special needs. The professor maintained that the Nigerian government and professionals should work together to make more use of ICT in the education of students with special needs.

Furthermore, she suggested, among other things, educating teachers on how to maintain their interest in ICT and providing them with training. It is necessary to make changes to the way teachers are trained in order to stimulate their attention. They need to be made aware of the situation from the moment they start school till the moment they start working. She emphasized that the government and the other parties who are concerned need to pool their resources together and that this will be possible.

Many special students do not have assess to e-learning tools.

Dr. Catherine Atteng, who is the National President of the association, stated that the topic of the conference was in accordance with the trend that is occurring internationally. It’s a globalized world, and they can’t keep doing things the way they’ve always done them. She stated that everyone is utilizing technology, and they can’t deny these students with special needs the ability to compete on an equal level with their peers who have disabilities all around the world because everyone else is using technology.

Moreover, Dr. Rasheed Abilu, the second lead paper presenter, gave an overview of the current situation of ICT in regular and special education classrooms across the country. According to Dr. Abilu, many classrooms around the country have computer labs, but the majority of them are locked and unavailable to students. While some schools may have computer labs, not all students with disabilities have access to those facilities. He explained that particular accommodations for people with disabilities were not made, citing the absence of screen readers, alternate input devices, and adapting keyboards.

The Oyo state government is committed to enhancing the education sector.

On her path, Mrs. Christiana Abioye, the state’s permanent secretary for the ministry of education, reaffirmed the state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde dedication to education in the sector and, in particular, the education of children having special needs. In a separate report, it was revealed that the governor had increased budgetary allocation to the education sector from 2.5% to 10% in order to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, noting that significant funds must be channeled towards education.

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