The Chief of Administration and Finance (CAF) of the CBC Health Services, Mr. Warri Denis has applauded the initiative of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) and School Council members from the 17 pilot schools (where the SEEPD programme is implementing inclusive education) for coming together to discuss issues that encourage and enhance the learning of children with disabilities in their various schools. The CAF was speaking at the start of a one day workshop on practicable implementation of inclusive education organized by the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) Programme in collaboration with the Teacher’s Resource Center. The workshop, which took place on April 14, 2015 at the Baptist Center Nkwen Bamenda had as objective to highlight the role of the PTA and School Councils in supporting inclusive education in mainstream schools.
Addressing the participants, the Educatio
n Advisor of the SEEPD Programme, Mrs. Fobuzie Bridget noted that children in the Northwest Region attain schools except children with disabilities. In line with Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, she stressed on the fact that every country of the world must implement inclusive education in order for children with disabilities to access education. With this, the CBCHS through the SEEPD Programme has the mission of providing care to all who need it by improving on the quality of life of persons with disabilities. The Education Advisor lauded the SEEPD Programme for modeling inclusive education in the nation since 2010, by enhancing capacity of teachers through workshops and setting up of resource rooms for students and pupils with disabilities in the 17 pilot secondary and primary schools in the Northwest Region of Cameroon.
At a time when the dreams of the SEEPD programme is for inclusive education to become a reality in Cameroon, the role of the head teacher, principals, PTA leaders and School Council Executive members is very important as other schools will gradually emulate their practices. The workshop was therefore a forum for the Education Advisor to lay emphasis on the role that these stakeholders have to play. According to Mrs. Forbuzie, they are to design school rules and regulations that are inclusive, design co-curricular activities that are inclusive, design prizes for award ceremonies that are disability sensitive and encourage children with disabilities in the communities to go to school.
Educating the participants on Gender and Inclusive Education, the Gender Officer of the SEEPD Programme, Mrs. Fomonyuy Clodine Mbuli regretted that much of the analysis of education for children with disabilities lack a gender perspective, while much of the discussion of gender equality in education overlooks the added problems faced by children with disabilities. She added that girls and boys with disabilities are likely to experience marginalization differently; it is important that education discourse comes to recognize and address this. She challenged the participants to promote gender equality in their schools.
One of SEEPD Communication Officers, Ms. Muffuh Agnes reported that 35 participants from 13 out of the 17 Government Primary and Secondary schools that practice inclusive education attended the workshop. The participants have been called upon to mainstream disabilities in all their school activities. Further reports say participants were visibly satisfied with the presentations in the workshop, which they say, was an eye opener and promised to get to work for implementation.
It should be noted that the workshop came on the heels of a one week symposium on inclusion that took place in Buea. Given that the Education Advisor was chosen from the SEEPD Programme to attend the symposium amongst participants from five African countries tells of the fact that the Programme is on the right path as far as inclusive education is concerned. It is her wish that with the experience of the programme in inclusive education government will partner with the programme to make inclusive education go national.