By Fru Rita Ngum
The CBC Health Services (CBCHS) has donated equipment worth over 8 million cfa to the University of Bamenda for the setting up of an inclusive resource center to facilitate teaching and learning for lecturers and all students including students with disabilities in the University. The donation of the equipment is within the framework of a partnership formalized in 2015 between the CBC Health Services and the University of Bamenda with the objective to foster collaboration, facilitate advancement in knowledge and provide opportunities for experience in inclusive education as a means of enhancing the education for all agenda. The equipment was donated, thanks to funding from CBM Australia, main funding partner of the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disability (SEEPD) programme of the CBCHS.
During the handing over ceremony on June 19, 2017 at the University campus, the Director of CBCHS, Prof. Tih Pius Muffih expressed satisfaction with the University of Bamenda for embracing the concept of inclusion and taking steps to make inclusive education a reality. Prof. Tih promised that the CBCHS will continue to respect the terms of the partnership as stated in the Memorandum of Understanding.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Bamenda, Prof. Theresia Nkuo-Akenji said she was elated with the CBCHS for incorporating inclusive education into the University of Bamenda, noting that the assistance makes the partnership between both parties grow. The Vice Chancellor highlighted that the equipment will make the University a place of learning for all.
While expatiating on the list of equipment and their use, the Education Advisor of the SEEPD programme, Mrs. Forbuzie Bridget said the equipment comprised of projectors, desktop computers, three photocopiers, scanner, printer, board maker software, reading rulers and overlays, talking watch, and footballs with jingles amongst others. Mrs. Forbuzie reiterated that the equipment are not intended to assist only leaners with disability, but also, for the training of students of the Higher Teacher’s Training College (HTTC) to be able to teach inclusively at the end of their course work. She noted that in the days ahead a module will be designed on inclusive education for the University.
To demonstrate how the some of the equipment are used, a written note was brailed for students with impairments to read. They thrilled all present as they read the brailed paper at a slow pace when others could not see anything written on it. The Education Advisor was emphatic that their slow reading pace is because they will have to feel the dots with their finders on the brail paper before reading. According to her, the University needs to know the challenges of the blind students and accommodate them in the learning process.
While handing the equipment to the Vice Chancellor who received it on behalf of the University, the Director of CBCHS, Prof. Tih called on the VC to make possibility for additional time during class work and most especially during exams for learners with disability giving that they need more time to break through during learning. He charged the University to use the equipment judiciously.
The VC received the equipment with broad smiles on her face while showering blessings on the CBCHS. She promised to make the University adapted for all learners with the coming of the equipment. Both parties signed and exchanged the list of equipment.
The handing over ceremony was attended by the Personnel Manager of the CBCHS, Mr. Ndosak George, SEEPD Programme Manager, Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac, Public Relations Officer of CBCHS, Mr. Wango Barnabas, the NW Delegate of Basic Education, and the Director of HTTC who attested that the University of Bamenda has benefited from the CBCHS with the brailing of scripts for candidates sitting in for entrance exam into the school.
It is worth noting that by this partnership, the CBCHS through her Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) programme is regarded as technical partner to the University of Bamenda on matters of disability, inclusion and development.
The donation comes three years after the CBCHS donated some equipment to the Cameroon GCE Board in 2014 to facilitate the brailing of GCE scripts for candidates with visual impairments.