The Centre for Infrastructural and Technological Advancement for the Blind (CITAB) has asked the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, to ensure that blind persons are catered for following his directive for free internet service to primary and secondary school students enrolling in e-learning in the state.
The convener of the association, Jolomi Fenemigho, frowned on the absence of inclusion in the governor's directive.
"The initiative is laudable," Fenemigho said. "But, visually impaired students are conveniently left out of such plans. How can the Ogun State government claim to launch a digital e-learning class which no visually impaired student is aware of? This is quite unacceptable for a state that claims to run an all-inclusive education."
Fenemigho asked the governor to set-up a committee in the state's ministry of education to see to the needs and advancement of the learning potential of blind persons.
"Don't just make such declarations to the public without setting up gatekeepers to monitor the educational welfare of the disabled," Fenemigho said. "This is not done, and this is a common mistake the majority of our leaders make.
"It has never benefited the disabled, and this is why the government needs to appoint members of a committee that would monitor the affairs of the disabled students and report directly to the governor."
Fenemigho reminded the governor that with the right assistive technologies, blind persons could be on an equal academic footing with their counterparts.
"These students need speech-enabled devices such as laptops, smartphones, braille or speech notetakers and tablets to interface with the materials provided by learning software applications, learning management systems (LMS) such as canvas and normal e-learning websites.
"Utmost priority is to be given to the visually impaired students, for if these set of students are taught in an accessible environment and are given the right tools to learn, they would excel to a point where they would even meet up academically with their fellow sighted colleagues at school, yet I don't understand the reluctance of those in the corridors of power."
Fenemigho urged the governor to take the lead on making e-learning inclusive of blind persons.