The Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has said that parents would no longer be allowed to choose course for their children living with disabilities, seeking admissions into tertiary institutions.
Oloyede was reacting to the comment by the National President, National Association of Visually Impaired, Stanley Onyebuchi at the First Conference of JAMB Equal Opportunity Group (JEOG) in Abuja on Monday.
The conference has the theme:”Towards Increasing Equal Opportunity of Access to Higher Education in Nigeria”.
The event also featured the unveiling of the Strategic Roadmap for Inclusive Access to Quality Higher Education in Nigeria 2024-2028.
“The case of the student that wanted to study law, it was her step father that said he cannot allow her to go as far as Calabar to study law but asked that she be enrolled in Kaduna State University.
“This is because the course she showed interest in was not available at the university but the father asked that she study special education.
“We have now taken a decision that henceforth, just like with regular admissions, no parent will be allowed to have a say in the admission choice of candidates with disabilities,” he said.
In his opening address, Oloyede said that the board was ready not only to facilitate access but also ensuring equity as special arrangement had been made for inclusivity of PWDs to acquire tertiary education.
Meanwhile, the National President, National Association of Visually Impaired, Stanley Onyebuchi had said that some of their members faced some sorts of rejection from tertiary institutions in the areas of their choice courses.
Onyebuchi said when PWDs sought for admissions in tertiary institutions, some of the institutions castigate them saying they were not meant to be their institution.
He added that the economic hardship occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy had taken a toll on its members as many of them no longer continued their education.
“I want the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities to take note of our complaints.
” If it means a sensitisation visit, we don’t mind going round because for us, the visually impaired persons, education is key to our success, anything that will hinder us from achieving this we will not take it.
“Also with the increment in the tuition fees, that has discouraged our members from going back to school. I want to suggest since the government want our children to be out of the streets , there should be free education for all persons with disabilities in all the tertiary institutions,” he said.
He, therefore, advocated for a good working environment saying that PWDs most times lacked some assisting devices that would make them work effectively.
Declaring the conference opened, the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, said the federal government was paying attention to ensure that every member of the society have equal access to education.
Mamman said that equal opportunity to higher education must begin with inclusivity while calling on tertiary institutions, its community on inclusive access for PWDs.
“We must work by focusing on accessible learning environment where physical appropriate environment is needed and inclusive curriculum for all students.
“Support services should be readily available in the institutions, faculty and staff training who will be sensitive to the need of the diversity must be put into consideration.
“All information from application processes in the format that will suite the PWDs must also be ensured,” he said.
The ministry however promised to continue in the delivery of President Bola Tinubu’s mandates by focusing on policies that promote inclusivity and unity.
In the same vein, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Disability, Dr Bashiru Daudu said the house would soon commence raising awareness on the disability Act 2018.
Daudu said that the committee would start implementation of the act in January 2024 saying this would address the needs of PWDs in the country.
Also, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund, Sen. Ahmad Kaita, pledged to explore innovative funding to ensure all Nigerians have equal opportunity to higher education. (NAN)