Written by Godfrey AKON

Wesley University seeks FG’s support for deaf centre

Wesley University, Ondo, has advocated Federal Government’s support for the establishment of a deaf centre to cater for the tertiary education needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing Nigerians.

Registrar of the university, Mrs Chioma Obasi, said the establishment of the centre was in line with the mission of Methodist Church in providing education at all levels taking special interest in the education of the less privileged and the disabled.

Obasi, who was accompanied by a delegation from Gallaudet University, Washington DC and the deaf community in Nigeria to the Minister of State for Education, Prof Antony Anwukah, noted that the team was in Nigeria to work with the university to look at the special needs of the deaf in Nigeria.

She said the university was trying to work with the National Universities Commission, NUC, and relevant authorities to come up with a curriculum that would suit the special needs of the deaf in the country.

“We seek the support of the government to make sure that we meet the yearnings of these special people in our nation,” she said.

Leader of the delegation from Gallaudet University, Prof Kadijat Rashid, who is also the Dean of Business at the university, said Gallaudet University established in 1864 for the deaf and hard of hearing individuals is 154 years old.

She said the university is working with the University of Illorin and the Nigerian Deaf Community to figure out what exactly is needed to establish such a programme in Nigeria.

“There are many deaf programmes here in Nigeria; we have visited them and know that they are there. Many of those here today from the Nigerian National association of the deaf graduated from Illorin University, they have Masters, PhDs.

“That is not enough. The university of Illorin is not enough, we have about 8-10 million deaf Nigerians here in the country who need higher education. To have only the University of Illorin does not service all of their needs. We need a programme that services all of their needs so that they can communicate directly to students using sign language,” she said.

Rashid called on the National Assembly to pass the Disability Bill into law to provide better care for the deaf and other disabled people in the society

Also speaking, the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, said the delegation from Gallaudet University was in the country at the invitation of Wesley University.

“There is room for improvement, but the federal government of Nigeria did well by establishing, some 30 years ago, centre for supportive services for the deaf at the University of Illorin. The value of that centre is that we were able to produce deaf in various disciplines.

He urged the federal government to support five other universities in different locations of the country to join the University of Illorin in catering for the deaf community’s tertiary education, adding that Bayero University Kano and University of Calabar, which currently run a deaf centre graduate students in pain because they do not have signers who follow the students.

Minister of State for Education, Anwukah, Expressed happiness at the vision of Wesley University and urged it to perfect its documentation with NUC and the commission will forward it to the Ministry for completion, adding that there must be a basis for

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