#Education

Albinism: Disability activist advocates inclusive education

By Saheed Ibrahim

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A disability activist, Vivian Ezeonwumelu, has advocated for inclusive education catering for the educational needs of children with albinism.

Ezeonwumelu lamented that children with albinism face several educational challenges, negatively affecting their education and general well-being but these the challenges were not considered in schools and the Nigerian education system.

“Children with albinism are not given enough time or patience to capture what they see on the whiteboard or blackboard by the teachers. This brings about learning disability in the children.

 “There is also stigmatisation among their peers and even parents. With the rising learning disability, the children can repeat classes, and this affects the kids.

 “In some cases, some parents who can’t afford quality education withdraw their children from school and say those who are intelligent should attend school.

 “Another challenge is the skin cancer issue. When a child with albinism has health challenges, they cannot go to school, and no one seems to care about that.

“For instance, a child with albinism can suffer skin cancer, preventing them from going to school. This will affect education, and they may have to repeat classes.

“Some that are done with school even face employment challenges, and the society stigmatises them because of their skin colour,” she explained.

Giving recommendations, the Mandela Washington Fellow suggested that government should follow in the footsteps of countries providing special care for children with albinism.

“There are some policies that the government must implement to assist children with albinism.

“Schools should allow children with albinism to wear hats to school. The hats will protect them against sun rays.

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“They must be allowed to wear long sleeves to school, and they should be provided with sunscreens to protect their sight, umbrellas, lip balm and other items to aid their learning.

The disability activist also recommended training teachers to handle children with albinism and planting trees in schools to create shades for the students to play under in other to facilitate an inclusive and conducive education system for children with albinism.

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