By Fru Rita Ngum
Pupils and students with disabilities will henceforth study with ease in CBC primary schools and colleges following the willingness and openness of the Cameron Baptist Convention Education Department (CBCED) to fully implement inclusion in her schools. CBC Education Secretary, Nyanganji Emmanuel Indi says the pilot will begin in some selected schools in collaboration with the CBC Health Services (CBCHS) Empowerment and Disability Inclusive Development (EDID) program that exclusively works with children with disabilities (CWDs).
The partnership between the EDID program and the CBCED reached its peak on April 5, 2018 when the “Sustainable Inclusive Education Project” was launched for CBC Schools in the presence of public and private education stakeholders. The project is expected to bring hope for CWDs as they access quality education offered by the CBCED. The schools will be equipped with resource rooms and assertive devices to facilitate learning for the children.
Project Officer, Dr. Napthalin Atanga says, the project seeks to internalize inclusion in the Baptist Education System, advocate for the CBCED to promote 5% school fees weaver for CWDs and lobby for government subvention to subsidize school fees for CWDs in CBC Schools amongst others.
Given that the project is being funded by the Liliane Foundation (LF), Netherland through the EDID Program, it was necessary for the stakeholders to be schooled on what Liliane Foundation is all about and the mission of EDID program and how it aligns with the mission of the project.
In this regard, EDID Program Manager, Mrs. Agho Glory who doubles as the Project Manager of the Sustainable Inclusive Project, noted that the mission of EDID is to ensure that quality care is provided to all children and youths with disability from zero to 25years. She added that EDID works towards this mission through its 23 partner organizations in 8 regions of Cameroon.
The Cameroon Baptist Convention Education Department (CBCED’s) goal aligns with EDID program’s mission to provide quality education to Cameroonians, reason why the Liliane Foundation (LF), caught the vision of CBC to make its schools inclusive.
Reports say children with disabilities (CWD) face barriers of inaccessible infrastructures which prevent them from accessing education, communication and attitudinal barriers. Presenting the Management and Steering Committee, the Project Director who doubles as CBC Education Secretary, Mr. Nyanganji Job was emphatic that CBC will work towards making its schools accessible. He added that this will be the start off point for the project in the 5 pilot schools in the Northwest Region namely: Baptist Comprehensive High Schools Nkwen and Njinikejem, CBC Primary School Nkwen, Baptist Teacher Training College Ndop and CBC Practicing School Ndop.
“CBC teachers will be trained on inclusive education to enable them accommodate the enrolled children, massive awareness will be raised to educate parents on the need to send their children to these schools,” remarked Mr. Nyanganji.
According to the Project Director, it is hoped that the project which will run for 3 years beginning this academic year and will be extended to other CBC schools and other denominational schools like Catholic and Presbyterian schools in the future.
The close to 40 stakeholders who raised questions about the success of the project expressed joy for the initiative and pledged their support in making the dream of inclusion in CBC Schools come true.
The Coordinator of In-Service Training Program (ISTP) Mr. Njobati Fred commended the collaboration between the CBCHS and the CBCEB in promoting inclusion. He implored all stakeholders to get to work in their different areas to ensure the success of the project.
Launching the project, the representative of the NW Regional Delegates of Secondary and Basic Education, Mr. Tansi George assured the support of the government in ensuring that the scope of the project is extended through its results recorded.
At the closed of the launching ceremony, the chairperson of the event, CBCHS Chief of Administration and Finance Mr. Warri Denis who represented the Director of CBCHS charged the stakeholders to own the project and called on committee members to be committed to the goal of the project.
Through its Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) Program, the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS) has since 2010 piloted inclusive education (IE) in 17 government schools with the objective to enable children with disabilities study in the same setting with their peers without disabilities.