The Administrator of Mbingo Baptist Hospital has called on Sign Language teachers from the Integrated School for the Deaf Mbingo (ISFD), BCHS Njinikejem, CBC Nursery and Primary School Mbingo 1 and GBHS Bamenda to understand the organization, in which they work, keep to commitments, portray good attitudes and demonstrate integrity. Mr. Nji Richard made the call during a two day workshop on inclusive education that took place at the campus of ISFD in Mbingo from August 25-26, 2015. He used the opening of the workshop to congratulate the teachers of the ISFD and CBC Primary Schools for their brilliant performances in the 2015 Government Common Entrance Exams while calling on them to work as a team to promote inclusion between the two schools.
The objective of the workshop that was organized by the ISFD Mbingo in collaboration with the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) Programme was to train the participants in promoting inclusive practices in the primary and secondary schools.
The SEEPD Programme Manager, Mr. Awa Jacque Chirac told participants that the purpose of the education component in phase 3 is to establish sustainable network and partnerships for inclusive education at both regional and national levels, strengthen the capacity of special schools to operate as resource centers for inclusive education and introduce inclusive education in teacher training institutions. He called on the teachers to work relentlessly in order to attain the dream.
Given that charity begins at home, the SEEPD Education Advisor, Mrs. Fobuzie Bridget Longla stressed that inclusion must start in the ISFD and CBC Primary Schools in Mbingo. She told the teachers that their duty as teachers is not to treat the disability of the children but to be able to work with the pupils the way they are. Madam Fobuzie told the participants that disabilities are caused by the environment, culture, policies and attitudes which if changed the challenges of children with impairments will be eradicated.
In small groups, participants deliberated on ways to promote inclusion in CBCHS ISFD and CBC Primary schools. At the end of their discussions, they resolved that the two schools will have joint activities like sports, cultural activities, manual labour, as well as joint staff meetings and devotion occasionally, advocate for children with impairments and make Sign Language one of the main languages in CBC Primary school so that the pupils and teachers can effectively communicate with pupils of ISFD.
The Principal of BCHS Njinikejem, one of the inclusive schools, Mr. Koffi in his presentation on inclusion in BCHS lauded the government for promoting inclusive education but underscored that much still needs to be done in order to complement the efforts of the CBC Health Services in promoting inclusive education. Mr. koffi noted that BCHS Njinikejem has four sign language interpreters, children with hearing impairments participating in all school activities, and other teachers also learn sign language in order to communicate with students with hearing impairment. Notwithstanding, he added that among other challenges, students with hearing and visual impairments still face some challenges especially in the GCE when some of their scripts are not properly transcribed and most of them do not write good English. To him, part of the way forward is for the students to get enrolled in vocational courses where they can gain skills in trade and even employ themselves when they leave school.
In an interview, the Head teacher of ISFD Mbingo, Mr. Che Manasah revealed to SEEPD Communication Officer, Fru Rita Ngum that plans are underway to set up a well-equipped resource center that will jointly be used by the ISFD and CBC Primary Schools in a bid to foster inclusion. The close to 40 participants appreciated the SEEPD programme for always building their capacities at the beginning of each academic year.