Alexander Okere, Benin
The Network for the Advancement of People with Visible Disabilities has called on the Edo State Government to consider a tuition-free educational policy for the physically challenged in state-owned tertiary institution.
The group made the call while awarding scholarships to 44 persons living with disabilities in different educational institutions across the country in Benin City, the state capital.
Among the beneficiaries of the grants, worth N2m, were 27 students in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education and19 pupils in primary and secondary schools in the state.
Speaking at the sixth presentation ceremony, the President of NAPVID, Mr. Melody Omosah, explained that the policy would provide the special children with unlimited access to education and assist them to achieve their dreams.
Omosah stated, “I will make a single appeal and I intend to send a proposal to the governor that, whereas education is free at the primary and secondary levels for everybody, we should make education tuition-free for persons with disabilities in Edo State higher institutions.
“If that is done, the unhindered education of people with disabilities to the university level would be guaranteed because except you help a couple of them, they cannot acquire university education.”
He further explained that the 2018 awardees, under the NAPVID Education Fund, were selected based on their financial backgrounds and availability of funds.
He said, “This disbursement is not inclusive of the daily intervention we carry out in the lives of students with disabilities. We are interested in championing the cause of the education of children with disabilities, by ensuring that their tuition and accommodation are provided without waiting for a formal gathering.
“We have our criteria, one of which is that you must be indigent. It must be a situation where it behoves on us to intervene in your education because you do not have an alternative.”
He, however, commended the state government for its financial support and donation of a building for the establishment of a braille centre in Benin.
Earlier, the wife of the state governor, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, reiterated the commitment of the state government to the development of persons with special needs.
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