The Kano State government led by His Excellency Engineer, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is committed to providing “High quality and functional education for lifelong learning and self reliance”. To achieve this vision, government must create an enabling policy environment that ensures every child/ student has access to education that gives equal opportunities to interact, benefit and improve their individual abilities irrespective of disability, ethnic origin, language, religion, economic condition, gender, ability etc.
Therefore, Inclusive education is a process of strengthening the capacity of the education system to reach out to all learners and can thus be understood as a key strategy to achieve EFA and the Education MDGs. As an overall principle, it should guide all education policies and practices, starting from the fact that education is a basic human right and the foundation for a more just and equal society.
It is therefore important for the state government to draw up clear policy guidelines on inclusive education which will provide guidance for all relevant stakeholders to ensure every child is in school thereby giving access to quality education to all children of school age under the same environment and conditions not minding their culture, religion, gender, physical, mental, emotional disability etc.
This policy on inclusive education compliments all other existing state policies. By this policy government will be proactive in identifying barriers and obstacles learners encounter in attempting to access opportunities for quality education as well as removing these barriers and obstacles that lead to exclusion.
The Federal Government of Nigeria through the UBE programme has demonstrated commitment in addressing inclusion and has continued to support States in defining and funding its own inclusive Education interventions and strategy.
Worldwide research has shown that children do better, develop social skills, mutual respect etc in fully inclusive schools than in special schools. Before now Kano State practiced integrated / isolated school systems through special schools through those physically challenged. This policy provides the roadmap for the State to adopt an inclusive education system that meets the need of every child in the same classroom. It compliments and reinforces all existing policies on education delivery.
Kano State has a large number of children who are out of school. This consists of girls, Almajiris, Orphans, Nomads, Abused children, internally displaced persons and children living with disabilities. According to Governor Ganduje, “Out of the 60 Million out-of-school children globally, Nigeria has 10 per cent, with a greater percentage of the figure in Kano”. This has led to a high rate of excluded/out-of- school children who cannot realize their full potentials and are now involved in different social vices thus posing security challenges in the state.
The major impetus for inclusive education is to enable schools to serve all children, particularly those with special educational needs. Therefore the emphasis is that no child of school age should be out of school due to physical, social and economic barriers.
An ‘inclusive’ education system can only be created if regular schools become more inclusive – in other words, if they become better at educating all children in their communities. Regular schools with an inclusive orientation are the most effective means of combating discriminatory attitudes, creating welcoming communities, building an inclusive society and achieving education for all; moreover, they provide an effective education to the majority of children and improve its efficiency and ultimately its cost-effectiveness.
The education system has the full responsibility to ensure the right to education especially at basic level. A system equipped and ready to handle diversity through: flexible teaching methods with innovative approaches to teaching aids, and equipment as well as the use of ICTs, responsive child-friendly environments, professional environment working deliberately and actively to promote inclusion for all, flexible teaching and learning methods adapted to different needs and learning styles, reorienting teacher education, flexible curriculum responsive to diverse needs and not overloaded with academic content, welcoming of diversity,
Involvement of parents and the community, early identiﬁcation and remediation of children at risk of failure etc. It is from this perspective that this policy document becomes necessary thus, designed to set the tone for achieving these milestones, and to actualize this transition.
The policy development process was highly consultative, involving large groups of stakeholders from the State and LGAs including NGOs, FBOs, and CBOs etc and therefore represents the collective views of the good people of Kano State. While thanking all involved in this policy review and development, it is my hope that the implementation will attract the same level of commitment on the part of everyone, as the continued input of all stakeholders is crucial to the successful implementation of the Policy.
The State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology on its part is fully committed to its role in providing policy and strategic direction for the delivery of Education in the State. I appeal to all our partners to play their parts accordingly. I also want to note the immense support of the Dfid/Education Sector Support Program in Nigeria (ESSPIN) in Education reform in the State and especially in this policy review and development process.