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The effect of  Institutional Based Programmes in the  Education  of  the Visually  Impaired Children and Youth in  West  Africa

Isuwa  J.  Jurmang

CBM advisor on special education

Department of special education

University of Jos,

ABSTRACT

Two Residential Special Schools; One in Nigeria and the other in Niger Republic were selected.  The  school in Niger  was 22 years Old and the one in Nigeria was 28 years.  For those periods of years, the school had mean annual in take of 4 and 6 children respectively.  The annual enrolment therefore are 24 for Niger and 36 children for Nigeria.  Huge resources have been put into these schools, yet only a few children gain access to the schools. The research concludes by looking into the economic and employment opportunities of  the graduates.  This has further questioned the goal and the method of educating the visually impaired children and youth in the region. 

INTRODUCTION

Education is concerned with the total process of human learning by which knowledge is imparted, faculties trained and skills developed.  Many other reasons could be attributed to having education.  Some of which are political, cultural or economical.

In Africa  most parents can only support the education of their children where there is employment prospects for them.  They want to see their children gainfully employed  after graduating from school.

Visually impaired children like their sighted peers have the same educational needs and expectation.  Therefore appropriate quantitative and qualitative education should turn them out with knowledge, skills and understanding that will enable them to contribute positively towards their personal development their extended families and their nation.  They should not be seen in object poverty and are not to depend on their sighted peers and relations for food,  clothing, shelter and everything in their life as the case often is.  This calls for revisiting and reorganizing the methods of educating them,  their educational goal should be identified, realistic and achievable.

RESEARCH   AREAS

St. Joseph  Centre  for the visually impaired  Obudu is in Cross - River State of Nigeria.  It was established in 1972 by the Catholic Arch Dioceses of Ogoja.  It is a Residential Special school.  In 1975 Reverse integration was introduced in the school.

Ecole de Jeunes aveugle (school for blind children) Niamey in Niger was established in 1978. It was established by the Blind Union of Niger.  It is also a Residential Special School.

A general observation and survey was done within the West African Region.

METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION

At Niamey, the Principal and a teacher who is in charge of record keeping and correspondences  and the Researcher formed the research team.

In Nigeria, the vice Principal and a visually impaired  staff  who was also an old student of the school with the Researcher formed the team.

Most old students that were around at the time of the research were interviewed.  It was easier  confirming what  the records had and inquiring about  particular old student of the schools from them.  They still had at the tip of their  hands  the names and numbers  of their mates.  They in most cases had full knowledge of the where about of each of them.

The  researcher  toured  and evaluated  the  following Residential  Special  Schools in West Africa:

*       Wa and Manpong Schools in Ghana

*       Togoville and Kpalime Schools in Togo and

*        School for Blind Children Gindiri in Nigeria.

 
 
STATISTICAL  TOOLS

Simple  Percentage  was  used  to quantify the research findings.  Mean ( x ) was also  used for evaluation.

DATA  PRESENTATION  AND ANALYSIS

TABLE 1

ENROLLMENT FROM 1978 - 200 (22 YEARS) OF THE SCHOOL FOR BLIND CHILDREN NIAMEY, NIGER REPUBLIC.

 

1978  1979

 

1979  1980

 

1980

1981

 

1981

1982

 

1982 1983

 

1983

1984

 

1984

1985

 

1985

1986

 

1986

1987

 

1987

1988

 

1988

1989

 

1989

1990

 

1990

1991

 

Fillers (Girls)

 

2

 

1

 

0

 

2

 

3

 

0

 

1

 

3

 

2

 

1

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

Garcons (Boys)

 

3

 

2

 

2

 

1

 

3

 

0

 

3

 

0

 

10

 

3

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

Special Class

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

Total

 

5

 

3

 

2

 

3

 

5

 

0

 

4

 

3

 

12

 

4

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

 

1991

1992

 

1992

1993

 

1993

1994

 

1994

1995

 

1995

1996

 

1996

1997

 

1997

1998

 

1998

1999

 

1999

2000

 

TOTAL

 

Fillers (Girls)

 

0

 

3

 

7

 

2

 

4

 

0

 

4

 

6

 

4

 

45

 

Garcons (Boys)

 

0

 

1

 

5

 

3

 

3

 

1

 

4

 

6

 

7

 

56

 

Special Class

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

1

 

2

 

1

 

1

 

2

 

7

 

Total

 

0

 

4

 

12

 

5

 

8

 

3

 

5

 

13

 

13

 

108

 

1978 - 2000                                                                                                       =                      22 years.

Total  Nos.  of  Boys                                                                             =                      56

Total  Nos.  of  Girls                                                                              =                      45

Total  Nos.  in Special Class                                                       =                      7

Grand  Total                                                                                                      =                      108

NB       Special Class is a class set for people who became blind at later life. 

The mean new intake per year for the 22 years   =

Ef/N

=          108/22

X      =     4

TABLE  2

ENROLLMENT FORM 1972 - 2000 (28 YEARS) OF ST.   JOSEPH  CENTRE FOR THE VISUALLY HANDICAPPED OBUDU NIGERIA 

 

1972

 

1973

 

1974

 

1975

 

1976

 

1977

 

1978

 

1979

 

1980

 

1981

 

1982

 

1983

 

1984

 

1985

 

Boys

 

8

 

5

 

4

 

1

 

3

 

3

 

6

 

6

 

9

 

2

 

5

 

9

 

1

 

1

 

Girls

 

2

 

3

 

0

 

2

 

3

 

1

 

1

 

3

 

3

 

2

 

4

 

1

 

0

 

0

 

special Class

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

Total

 

10

 

8

 

4

 

3

 

6

 

4

 

7

 

9

 

12

 

4

 

9

 

10

 

1

 

1

 

1986

 

1987

1986

 

1987

1988

 

1988

1989

 

1989

1990

 

1990

1991

 

1991

1992

 

1992

1993

 

1993

1994

 

1994

1995

 

1995

1996

 

1996

1997

 

1997

1998

 

1998

1999

 

1999

2000

 

Total

 

1

 

4

 

1

 

2

 

4

 

9

 

7

 

3

 

0

 

5

 

1

 

0

 

9

 

13

 

0

 

122

 

3

 

0

 

0

 

1

 

2

 

2

 

1

 

1

 

4

 

1

 

1

 

1

 

1

 

1

 

3

 

47

 

-

 

-

 

1

 

1

 

2

 

4

 

1

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

2

 

1

 

0

 

14

 

4

 

4

 

2

 

4

 

8

 

15

 

9

 

4

 

4

 

6

 

2

 

1

 

12

 

15

 

3

 

183

 

1972 - 2000                                                  =                     28 years.

Total  Nos. of Boys                                       =                     122

Special Class                                                            =               14

Grand Total                                                  =                      183

Mean New intake per year for 28 years              =

Ef

N

=      183

28

 
 

X     =          6

TABLE 3

OCCUPATION OR  EMPLOYMENT  OF  CANDIDATES  OF  NIAMEY  IN  NIGER

TELEPHONE  OPERATORS 11 (11.5%)

 

WEAVING/KNITTING

 5 (5.2%)

 

WITHOUT JOB

7 (7.3%)

 

DECEASED

-

2 (2..1%)

 

STUDENTS

-

12 (12.6%)

 

PUPILS

-

42 (44.2%)

 

PAINTING

-

1 (1%)

 

UNKNOWN  CASES

-

15 (15.7%)

 

TOTAL

-

95 (100%)

 

TABLE 4

HIGHEST  QUALIFICATIONS  OBTAINED  BY  CANDIDATES  OF  OBUDU  IN  NIGERIA

NO CERTIFICATE OBTAINED

120 (40.9%)

 

FIRST  SCHOOL LEAVING CERTIFICATE

45 (15.3%)

 

POST PRIMARY CERTIFICATE

14 (4.7%)

 

TERTIARY CERTIFICATE

10 (3.4%)

 

TRADE CERTIFICATE

97 (33.1%)

 

 

 

JUNIOR SECONDARY CERTIFICATE

7 (2.3%)

 

TOTAL

293 (100%)

 

 

TABLE 5

OCCUPATION OR EMPLOYMENT OF CANDIDATES  OF  OBUDU   IN NIGERIA

CRAFT INSTRUCTORS

47 (16 %)

 

TRADERS

19  (6.4%)

 

JOURNALISTS

2 (0.6%)

 

SOCIAL WORKERS

1 (0.3%)

 

TEACHERS

6 (2%)

 

TELEPHONE OPERATORS

2 (0.6%)

 

MUSICIANS

1 (0.3%)

 

CIVIL SERVANTS

2 (0.6%)

 

TYPISTS

1 (0.3%)

 

INDUSTRIAL ARTISTS

1 (0.3%)

 

ARTISANTS

4 (13.6%)

 

BRAILLIST

1 (0.3%)

 

DECEASED

13 (44%)

 

PUPILS

103 (35.1%)

 

UNKNOWN CASES

37 (12.6%)

 

 

STUDENTS

42 (14.3%)

 

TRAINEES

11 (3.7%)

 

TOTAL

293 (100%)

 

 

LIMITATION OF THE RESEARCH

In Obudu Nigeria, the data used in analysing  enrollment and employment are 183 and 293 respectfully.  This is because in enrollment, the school’s vocational training was not considered.  However in Job or employment analysis the vocational candidates were added on.

In Niamey, Niger, 108 was used for enrollment analysis only 95 were used for employment analysis.  This is due to the fact nobody could  remember the names of the other 13 and what they do.   It was difficult determining highest qualifications in Niger.  This is because records only show countries they went to and not their highest qualifications.

DISCUSSION  OF  RESULTS

Table and 1 and 2 show  that  Obudu  and Niamey have annual students in take of 6 and 4 children respectively.  The schools have classes 1 to 6. 

Therefore their annual enrollment is 6 x 6 = 36  for  Obudu  Nigeria and 6 x 4 = 24 for Niamey Nigeria.  This shows that only very few visually impaired children gain access to school every year and only few of them receive education in the schools.

The  schools  are  supported  by Government, International Organizations, Individuals and  Philanthropic  Organizations every year.  Huge sums of money are used for only a few number of children.

Tables 3 and 5 show the spread of employment opportunities of the graduates of the schools.

In Niger only three types of  jobs  are  identified.

1.                 Telephone Operators (11.5%)

2.                 Weaving and Knitting (5.2%) and

3.                 Painting (1%).

In Nigeria it is a wide range of spread of job opportunities, but many of the job opportunities have less then 1% employment of the candidates.

Craft is the highest with (16%) followed  by Artisans  13.6%  and  teaching  2%.  All the rest are insignificant (less than 1%) figures or opportunities.

The two cases showed that there are more positive employment opportunities towards vocational jobs  e.g  Telephone  Operators, Craft, Weaving and Knitting and  being Artisans.  Special Schools  should lay emphasis  towards giving skills that the graduates would use their  hands.  The quest or emphasis on academic which usually is with the hope of getting white colar  job, the V. I.  Children in Africa hardly get such jobs.  Vocational skills be given the  children no matter their academic height.  This could be started early with  prevocational skills from  the nursery class throughout the 6 year primary Training even up to the University level.

Opportunities for apprenticeship within the students locality be  opened  up.  This may open up opportunities for other Vocational  Trainings  that could not be available in the school.   Many educated or even  graduates have  turned to street begging for lack of what to do.

Table 4 shows highest  qualification obtained  by  the  graduates  of Obudu in Nigeria.  40.9% of those who went to the school, dropped out 33.1% obtained trade certificate  only 4.7% and 3.4% got to Post  Primary and Tertiary Certificate.  2.3%  obtained Junior Secondary Schools Certificates.

A high proportion of their dropped our despite the huge resources that are used on them.  Most often they come from distances  to the school.  Perhaps schools within the locations will take care of that.  33 .1% which is the highest in certification is in the trade area.  This clearly shows again that Vocational Skills are very vital in the training skills of the V. I.  Children in Africa.  The number of those who finish the Primary, Secondary and the Tertiary Institutions are still insignificant.

OBSERVATIONS

Despite all publicity of the Residential Special Schools in West Africa  many  people are still  pretending  to  be  unaware of such  provision around them.  Therefore  people  do  not want to get the services of the schools as it should and they do not give the schools the desired  support.  There is need to design  strategies for attacking such attitude so that people become genuinely aware of the existence of such schools around them.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to feed the students in the schools.  On many occasions, schools close earlier for vacation and they delay in returning from vacation.  Both food quantity and quality are reducing in schools.  Schools had sent the students out to the streets to go and beg to feed in school.

Some  schools have  been indebted  to the tune  of  hundreds of dollars for feeding  the  students  on loan in the region.  What we are beginning to get on the streets is a group of  academically educated visually impaired  beggers.

CONCLUSION

Governments in the region are introducing the educational system that aims at giving  basic practical skills to children at early years of schooling.  Unfortunately the implementation is not meeting the need.  The idea would have met the needs of the visually impaired children.  The situation therefore now is that there are  only a few privilege ones gain  access to school.  Yet a huge sums of money is spent in such educational centres.

Despite that, a high percentage drop out.  It is those seen early as failing and are referred for Craft  Training that turn our to be the most employed.  The education that our visually impaired children get is not the most appropriate to their needs.


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