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SEEPD Programme creates Regional Network for Evidence on IE in the NWR

Members of the Regional Network
Members of the Regional Network

An idea to create a Regional Network for evidence on Inclusive Education (IE) in the North West Region (NWR) initiated in January 2017 by the S o c i o E c o n o m i c Empowerment of Persons with D is a b iliti e s (S E E P D ) programme of the CBC Health Services has come to reality. The network is made up of members drawn from some special schools in the region and related government Ministries. These include: SENTTI, CEFED, Treasure Center Akum, SAJOCAH Bafut, Special School for the Deaf Children Batibo, Vice Chancellor University of Bamenda, Representatives from the Delegations of Social Affairs, Basic and Secondary Education. The Network was created on March 30, 2017 in Bamenda during a meeting organized by the SEEPD programme with the objective to create and drill members on the expectations of the network. At the start of the meeting, the Director of CBC Health Services, Prof. Tih Pius Muffih commended the efforts of the stakeholders in the NWR to promote inclusive education. In order to consciously monitor enrollment of children with impairments in Special and mainstream schools in the NWR, Prof. Tih charged the members to ensure the collection of data for children with disabilities so that it can also be used for advocacy. Given that there is lack of concerted efforts among education stakeholders, limited statistical evidence on emerging demands for education and participation of children with disabilities (CWDs) in education, weak visibility of education stakeholders and their services, unaddressed needs raised by families of CWDs, the SEEPD Programme Manager, Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac after highlighting these limitations, noted that the creation of the network is important to address the challenges. Mr. Awa revealed that the strategic direction of the network is to contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 by generating and sharing evidence on the attendance and participation of CWDs in education. According to him, the intervention of the Network will be to develop and vulgarize an inclusive education stakeholder map for the NWR using mass media, promote services delivered by inclusive education stakeholders, collect, collate, analyze and disseminate data on enrolment and participation of CWDs in education, identify and refer users to appropriate services, advise government, local government units and NGOs on strategic directions. Participants praised the SEEPD programme for such a wonderful initiative which to them will increase the enrollment of children with disabilities and also complement the efforts of the different stakeholders working on inclusive education. In his greetings, the Regional Delegate of Basic Education disclosed that the government has created 68 inclusive schools with 8 of them being in the NWR. Although the Regional Delegate regretted the fact that teachers were supposed to be trained on inclusive education before creating inclusive schools, he was, however, hopeful that the capacity building provided by the SEEPD programme on inclusive education to its 17 pilot schools in the region and beyond will be of help. He noted that government is sparing no efforts in promoting inclusive education in Cameroon. The representative of the Vice Chancellor of University of Bamenda (UBa), Prof. Atanga Liliana highlighted a number of achievements on inclusive education in the University of Bamenda including the brailing of exams for students with impairments with the assistance of the SEEPD programme, education provided to students on how to make their lessons inclusive, and encouraging students to carry out research on inclusive education amongst others. With the signing of a 3 year Memorandum of Understanding with the CBC Health Services, the UBa representative added that it is expected that there will be increase in the capacity building of teachers and students on inclusive education and the provision of an inclusive teaching resource center amongst others. They shared experience which will enable them to better complement their work. At the close of the workshop, SEEPD Education Adviser, Mrs. Bridget Fobuzie encouraged the newly created Network members to share good practices in order to make the Network big. She announced that the rd 3 edition of Inclusive Education Open Day will take place this year in Bamenda during which members of the Network will showcase the IE work from their different schools thus providing visibility to the Network.

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