During the ongoing Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) of visually impaired candidates at the University of Lagos cluster centre on Friday, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), affirmed that efforts have been intensified to improve the welfare of the visually challenged. He stressed that this was being done to give them a sense of belonging.
The Lagos cluster centre has 66 visually impaired candidates participating in this year’s examination, representing Lagos and Ogun states. Oloyede monitored the examination and used the opportunity to affirm the Federal Government’s commitment to providing equal opportunities for every Nigerian child, regardless of their status.
It is noteworthy that the JAMB Registrar’s visit to the UTME centre for visually impaired candidates highlights the need for inclusivity in the education sector. By ensuring that every child, irrespective of their challenges or limitations, is given an equal opportunity to succeed, the government can create a fair and just society.
” I feel that the committee handling this examination for the board is doing a good job under Prof. Peter Okebukola and I also believe that we are giving sense of belonging to those who we believe are incapacitated by one disability or the other.
“And from what I have seen, they are very happy that the country cares about them,” he said.
Professor Peter Okebukola, a former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) and Chairman of the JAMB Equal Opportunity Group, has revealed that since 2017, the group has processed about 2,600 candidates for the UTME. Over a third of the candidates, including those with visual impairments, down syndrome, and autism, have been admitted to study courses of their choice in institutions of higher learning across the country, especially universities.
According to Okebukola, JAMB’s initiative has been commended in the last four years by several countries as a good model for Africa. This underscores the significance of inclusive education in promoting diversity, equity and social justice.
This year, a total of 364 special candidates, including those with disabilities, participated in the UTME. This signifies a positive development in the quest for inclusive education in Nigeria, and it provides opportunities for students to pursue their academic aspirations irrespective of their backgrounds.
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