By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
Governor Bala Mohammed has called on stakeholders in the education sector in Bauchi to join hands with the state government in creating all inclusive society where all individuals regardless of their ability can try and contribute to the growth and development of the state.
To this end, the governor commended his wife, A’isha Bala Mohammed and other stakeholders for their contributions towards the complete renovation of Bauchi Special Education Centre, and urged concerned stakeholders, including parents, teachers, and the larger community to embrace the centre as a symbol of unity and progress that together they can champion the course of special education, and ensure that no child is left behind.
Senator Bala Mohammed was speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the renovated Education Centre, where he assured that the state government is taking proactive measures to tackle challenges in the centre in an effort to make the state a centre of educational excellence.
“The present administration in the state under my leadership is committed to enduring that the benefits of education are not limited to this centre alone, we are deliberating on policies that would enhance the inclusion of students with special needs into the mainstream schools across the state”, he said.
The inclusion, according to him, would also allow for more opportunities for interaction, understanding and appreciation of diversity, while breaking down and eradicating various disunity practices, stressing that the centre symbolises the commitment of the state government and collective efforts towards providing quality education for all individuals with special needs.
“In addition to the academic curriculum, the centre would.also focus on vocational training, providing relevant skills and knowledge that would enable students to become self-reliance and economically empowered, adding “By equipping these students with necessary tools and skills, we are not only contributing to their personal growth, but also fostering their interaction into the broader society”.
Governor Bala further stated, “We have also sought the services of specialists in various fields, including speech therapy, occupational therapy and counselling to address their individual needs, and help them overcome challenges”.
“Education being the bedrock of any society to be inclusive to cater for the needs of all individuals, irrespective of their needs and faculties of their abilities or disabilities. We believe that every child deserves the right to education to reach his/ her potentials, and contribute meaningfully to the society hence our decision to privatize education”.
Governor Bala further explained that the renovation work of the centre was carried out by the state government through the Office of the First Lady, equipped with necessary facilities and infrastructure to provide comprehensive education to students with special needs.
He said that the centre is designed to Foster an environment that promote inclusivity, understanding and acceptance where students can learn, grow and instil in them a sense of confidence and self-work.
Commissioning the renovated special education centre, the chairperson of the Nigerian Governors’ Spouses Forum (NGSF) and Wife of Kwara State Governor, Amb. Professor Olufolake Abdulrazaq said that the Bauchi retreat of the forum served as an avenue for members to fraternize and gain deeper understanding of the diversity within the country.
She explained that the meeting has brought together First Ladies from states across the country as a testement to the commitment of these remarkable women to unity collaboration and progress in the service of their respective states and Nigeria as a country.
Ambassador Olufolake then outlined some of the forum achievements for the year 2023 that included successful and wide-reached mobilization and engagement of the First Ladies in the World’s breastfeeding sensitization, drugs eradication campaigns, sustained advocacy on sexual and gender-based violence, improved nutrition, women and girls rights to education, skills acquisition and empowerment of women and youths across the states of the federation.
The Bauchi state First Lady, A’isha Bala Mohammed had earlier in a welcome address, recalled that the centre as an institution was established to provide quality education and skills training to children with special needs to enable them discover their potentials and become productive to the society.
Hajiya A’isha Bala Mohammed noted with delight that the institution had over the years been attaining it’s objectives, but however discovered during her recent visit that the centre building has been dilapidated to the extent that it was distracting effective learning.
She told the commissioning ceremony, “The centre has been completely renovated such as fencing, hostels, classrooms, dinning hall, administrative block, staff room, including washing facilities. They were also provided 250 mattresses, 200 sets of bedsheets, and 250 pillows”.
A’isha also revealed that her foundation has provided the centre two cans of morning fresh, one Jerry can of Izal, 20 moppers, 52 buckets, teachers furnitures including dinning tables and dishes as well as equipping the clinic with drugs and medical.condumables, increased number of matrons and security personnel to further safequard the centre.
“I have provided each of the 515 students two sets of classroom and compound uniforms, school bus, exercise books, sandal shoes, and foodstuff such as 5 bags of rice, 5 bags of millet, 5 bags of maize, 5 bags of sugar, 35 cartons of superghetti, 5 Jerry cans of groundnut oil, 5 Jerry cans of plant oil, 600 cartons of soft drinks, 600 cartons of bottle water, seven bales of teaching and learning aides, and gifts to 34 wives of teachers, while casual staff were each given N10, 000.
Hajiya A’isha Bala, popularly known as Lami, expressed the believe that these efforts will change the lives of the students, as she also assured that the centre will continue to be of high priority to her office.
The commissioning of the Special Education Centre was part of the activities marking the annual retreat of the Nigerian Governors’ Spouses Forum, transited from the Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum in Bauchi which also coincided with the forum quarterly meeting attended by seventeen members across the states of the federation.
The attendees included the forum chairperson who is the First Lady of Kwara state, Prof. Olufolake Abdulrazaq, Lami Umaru Fintiri from Adamawa, Fatima Mohammed Bango from Niger, Hadiza Umar Namadi from Jigawa, Hafsah Uba Sani farin Kaduna, Patience Agyen Kefas from Taraba and Hurriya Dauda Lawal from Zamfara, Fatima Aliyu from Sokoto and Zulaiha Dikko Radda from Katsina.
The forum meeting hosted by wife of the Bauchi State Governor, A’isha Senator Bala Mohammed, also have in attendance, Ibijoke Sanwo Olu from Lagos, Silifat Sule from Nasarawa, Patience Eno from Akwa Ibom, Hafsat Kolere Buni from Yobe, Mary Maudine Nwifuru from Ibonyi, Glorio Diri from Bayelsa, Asma’u Inuwa Yahaya from Gombe, and Tumunominini Makinde from Oyo