Home City Review We Are Still Committed To PWDs’ Welfare – Ekiti Govt

We Are Still Committed To PWDs’ Welfare – Ekiti Govt

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Ekiti State Commissioner for Information, Rt. Hon. Taiwo Olatunbosun has reiterated the commitment of Governor Biodun Oyebanji’s administration to the welfare of persons living with disabilities (PWDs) in the State.

Rt. Hon. Olatunbosun who gave the assurance in Ado Ekiti, urged interested individuals and corporate organizations not to fan the embers of hatred and strife but support the efforts of the State Government to make life more meaningful for all stakeholders in the State particularly the PWDs.

Olatunbosun recalled that in January, this year, the State Government launched a free healthcare programme that allows people with disabilities access to healthcare services at no cost in the State.

He said that the healthcare programme organized by the Office of Special Education and Social Inclusion in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health was designed to enable all people living with disabilities in the State to enjoy free healthcare services in all government-owned primary, secondary and tertiary health facilities across the State.

Stressing the efforts of the State Government to sensitize and inform all concerned of the the programme, Olatunbosun said that the programme was highly advertised.

According to him, People living with disabilities in the State were to register with the Ministry of Health with their National Identification Number (NIN) and one passport photograph each to benefit from the programme.

He highlighted the interventions of the administration to the three Special schools for PWDs in the State to include renovation of boys’ and girls’ Hostels and Dining Halls, prompt release of Monthly Feeding Grants, purchase of dining tables and benches made of Iron-Stand with Ply-wood top, installation of solar bulbs and panels in the boys and girls hostels and installation of 2 Solar security lights in each school’s Boys’ and Girls’ Hostels.

Others include provision of iron double-bunk beds for both Boys and Girls hostels, provision of students/pupils mattresses and provision of ICT gadgets, including 45 Desktop Computers, 63 Laptop Computers, 3 Photocopier Machines, 3 Printer Machines, 3 Interactive Boards, 3 Lithium Batteries, 3 Charger Controllers, 3 5-KVA Solar Inverters with 16 Panels, 45 UPS, 3 Scanning Machines, and 1 Braille Embosser for the School for the Blind through the AGILE project.

The present administration also recruited more special education teachers and vocational teachers (ICT, PE, Art and Music) in the three special schools, while 74 Support Staff were recruited and had their appointment regularized across the three schools in the following roles (environmental, cooks, security, craft instructors and drivers) and all existing support staff were also trained.

Olatunbosun said accommodation was provided for people disabilities for the first time to participate in the Civil Service Exam for teachers in February this year, facilitated JAMB Centre for People with Disabilities in Ekiti State and  included people with disabilities in different programmes such as Kidscon event, Adire Hub training and others.

Olatunbosun stressed that Ekiti established the first adapted classrooms in the public special schools for children with disabilities in Nigeria, was also the first state to employ speech therapists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists in the public special schools in Nigeria and facilitated Specialists trainings (use of montessori materials) for 45 teachers from the three special schools

Olatunbosun also noted that apart from the existence of the three Government Special Schools specifically established to cater for the education of PWDs, education is free, compulsory and qualitative from primary to Senior Secondary School in the State.

He said while it is true that Government takes particular interest in the special schools due to their peculiar features and functions in handling the interest of people living with disabilities, the present administration is not neglecting any school in the State.

The Commissioner stressed that “203 public schools in Ekiti State are currently benefiting from the $25 million School Improvement Grant(SIG) released by the World Bank to uplift the standard of education in the state.

“The fund is being used to construct new buildings, renovate old ones, erect perimeter fences and purchase equipment to the benefit of all students in the schools including those living with disabilities.

“There is the Innovation Development and Effectiveness in the Acquisition of Skills Project which is also back by the World Bank to enhance the capacity of the skills development system in order to produce relevant skills for the formal and informal sectors without leaving out PWDs.

“In fact, there is no public school in the State that has not been substantially touched by Government’s developmental efforts without bias to the enrollment of PWDs.

“Government also paid N546.9million WAEC/SSCE fees for 16,269 SS3 students in public schools for this year making all SS3 students in public schools beneficiaries including those living with disabilities”.

Packaged by Mayowa Owogbade

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