The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), on Saturday in Kano, called on the Federal Government to formulate a policy that can guarantee the rights of students with disabilities gain unhindered access to digital education. Speaking during the presentation of a research paper entitled “State of Digital Disability Inclusion Compliance for Learning and Research in Tertiary Institutions in the North-West of Nigeria,” at Mambayya House, the Executive Director of CITAD, Malam Y.Z. Ya’u, appealed to relevant authorities to create a framework that will include Digital Education for the disabled right from the secondary school level.
He lamented the discrimination being suffered by disabled under-graduates in tertiary institutions, urged the Federal Government to formulate a policy that will mandate Citadels of Higher Learning in the country to put in place the needed facilities that can enable the disabled acquire comprehensive digital knowledge.
According to him, “all institutions of higher learning should have a disability policy much in the same line that gender policy was promoted to protect students living with disabilities from discrimination and abuse and to ensure that they are properly incorporated into the academic processes by making available all the necessary disability assistance teaching and study aids.
“All ICT policies of the institutions should be reviewed to incorporate the needs of students (and staff) living with disabilities such that they can have access to and use ICTs as tools for academic work. The websites of institutions of higher learning should be disability friendly and complaint by making providing for content to be accessible for students with vision and hearing impairment. Institution should not derail the ambition of people living with disabilities by denying them the courses they are interested in. Rather they should seek for innovation ways that they should cater for the needs of different disabilities.
“Institutions should accurately capture data about disability at the point of registration and use such data for planning and provision purposes. There should be uniform practice with respect to how people living with disabilities are admitted. This should relate to the sitting of both UME and post-UME examinations. Where institutions are not able to provide facilities for the people to sit for these examinations, they should wave them or device alternative tests.
“There is need to sensitize both staff and students in higher institutions to understand the special needs of students with disabilities and to therefore make staff and lecturers more sensitized to think of how they could mainstream them into their teaching.”