The Northwest Delegate of Basic Education have challenged teachers from the 17 pilot schools of Inclusive education of the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disability (SEEPD) Program to put the knowledge on inclusive education acquired from the Program in practice .Adding that they should not lock the knowledge in their cupboards. Mr Wilfred Ndong was speaking at the opening of a one day workshop organized recently by the SEEPD Program for Parents Teachers Associations (PTA) presidents, Principles, Head Teachers and some Pedagogic advisors from the inclusive pilot schools of the SEEPD Program at the Conference Hall of the Delegation of Secondary Education.
The objective of the workshop was to review action plans developed by participants in a workshop that was organized in 2017 and to deliberate on sustainable ways of implementing inclusive education in the Region beyond 2018 when the third phase of the SEEPD Program will wrap up.
Addressing the participants, the SEEPD Education Advisor decried that children with disability in Cameroon do not still fully have equity given that they are not adequately accommodated in the educational system of Cameroon. Mrs Fobuzie Bridget lamented that Cameroon cannot talk of emergence by 2035 if children with disability are not fully integrated in the educational system.
Reflecting on the impart created by the SEEPD Program in the Region which is very visible as have been attested by both beneficiaries and stakeholders, the program feels like walking on the tip of it toes. She however noted that despite the successes recorded by the SEEPD Program with collaboration from the government more still need to be done by the government so that children with disability have fully right to education
Given that the SEEPD Program started implementing inclusive education in the Region in 2010 following consultation meetings with stakeholders in 2009, the participants went down to the drawing board to access the achievements that they have recoded in their schools thanks to the SEEPD Program.
Amongst a number of achievements were the construction of ramps in some schools, increased number of enrollment for children with disability due to sensitization, provision of assertive devices and training of teachers by the SEEPD Program with funding from the CBM AusAID and equipping the resource centers in some schools to facilitate learning for learners with impairments
The participants highlighted that due to the political instability some parents of children with disability withdraw their children which affected the enrollment of children with disability
According to the Regional Pedagogic Adviser for Basic Education and the Focal point for Inclusive education at the Regional Delegation of Basic Education Mrs Iwu Rose the Government of Cameroon has put in place polices to promote education and inclusive society. She cited the law of April 14 1998 which outlined the responsibility of the government to educate all its citizens. She revealed the role of the government in promoting inclusive education like free education to all children with disability in government schools, creation of 8 pilot primary schools in the NWR to facilitate the access to education of children with disability. Mrs Iwu stressed that the role of the SEEPD Program in promoting inclusive education in the NWR cannot be over emphasized.
During the workshop participants wrestled with was the sustainability of inclusive education beyond 2018. Deliberating on this , the participants unanimously attested the fact that SEEPD Program has left great foot print which can be emulated and sustained to ensure that inclusive education continue in the region . Looking at the achievements recorded already, participants developed strategies that will enable them continue with the actions facilitated by the SEEPD Program in the previous years.
Even though the SEEPD Programs disclosed to the participants that the third phase of the Program wraps up in 2018, participants are however still hopeful that the good news on the approval of the next phase will break out in the days ahead. An anticipation which only time will tell whether it will come to reality or not as they put their fingers across
At the closed of the workshop, the Delegate of Secondary Education Mr Apah Itor Johnson praised the SEEPD Program for collaborating with the government to promote inclusive education which makes him optimistic about the future of inclusive education in Cameroon.