The Federal Ministry of Education has started the construction of a centre (National Education Diagnostic and Assessment Centre) in Abuja for early identification, referral and placement options for all categories of children with special needs.
The Director of Basic and Secondary Education Department, Barr. Chike Uwaezuoke, disclosed this in his address at the occasion to mark the 2013 Autism Awareness Creation and International Day Celebration for Persons with Special Needs in schools and centers, held on 10th December, 2013 at the School for the Blind, Jabi, Abuja.
Barrister Uwaezuoke, represented by Mrs. E. B Omotowa, the Director, Special Education, said that the project will come on stream by January, 2014; adding that the establishment of the Centre is part of the Ministry’s effort to mitigate the degree of the challenges caused by Autism and other disabilities and to pave way for their education.
He said that to mark the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, the Federal Ministry of Education has chosen to narrow it down to children with Disabilities that are in schools and Centers for the physically challenged, noting that the objectives were to sensitize members of the society on the need to create awareness and access to education and job placement for Persons with Disabilities; create more awareness on Autism and address the coping skills for parents, teachers and siblings of children with autism among others.
In a goodwill message, Ms. Omotunde E. Thompson of Centre for Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, herself a physically challenged person, said that over 40% of the country’s population is made up of persons with disabilities, adding that a large chunk of this population lack education. She therefore, appealed to individuals and organizations to support government at all levels to bridge the education gap of persons with disabilities.
It will be recalled that the United Nations General Assembly in resolution 47/3 of October, 1992 declared that 3rd December of every year be observe as the International Day for persons with Disabilities.