Prof. Olukoya Ogen, a Professor of History , Osun State University, Osogbo, has said that the mainstreaming of inclusive education in the nation’s educational system is critical to sustainable national development and social cohesion.
Ogen stated this at the 24th Convocation Lecture of Federal College of Education (FCE) , Osiele, Abeokuta on Wednesday.
He argued that inculcating inclusive education in the school curriculum would allow students with special needs to study with their peers in the same academic environment.
He added that education remains a basic need and right for every child, saying it supposed to be available to every child regardless of their physical or social limitations.
He stressed that the central goal of the inclusive approach was to make accessible to all the citizens of a particular nation the mainstream educational experience of that country.
“The invaluable roles and contributions of inclusive education to individual and national development can not be over emphasized.
“There is, therefore, the urgent need to really look into the prospects of inclusive education vis-à-vis the challenges ahead with a view to appropriating its advantages for national development.
“Therefore, the introduction of inclusive learning in the classroom should be a necessity and not just a minor additional feature in the policies governing the management of schools in Nigeria .
“Indeed, contrary to the views of some theorists that students with special needs should be taught in specialised learning environments, inclusion has provided way of improving intellectual and social well-being of many students with special needs,”he said.
The professor of history noted that inclusive education encouraged collaborative learning , improved teaching skills of teachers and also foster a culture of friendship, respect and belonging.
Ogen explained that inclusive systems guaranteed better quality education for all children and had a positive impact on the lingering discriminatory attitudes towards students with disabilities.