Vol. XXIII, Issue 4 (Fall 2016): Educating the Visually Impaired in Nigeria
Olayemi Akinwumi (South Africa)
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In this issue of AfricaUpdate, we focus on a largely neglected issue, namely, the education in Nigeria of the visually impaired. The perceptions of administrators and teachers take center stage in the research of Dr. David Oyebamiji and Samuel Oduyela, who invested a great deal of time and resources interviewing a spectrum of educators, on this matter. The participants for the study consisted of five hundred and twelve school principals and classroom teachers in Lagos, Ilorin and Jos. The author recommends that effective instructional strategies should be adopted, and that teachers and parents should be encouraged to actively participate in such efforts.
The second article focuses on the rich bibliographic resources on AIDS in European libraries. We are in the process of authenticating the references that Mr. Delbeke, an independent researcher, provided, but have no reason to doubt them at this point. Mr. Delbeke reminds us that the origin of AIDS may have a lot to do with various forms of experimentation that took place in the Congo, decades before its liberation from Belgium in 1960. This view correlates with the conclusion of some earlier scholars 2016 marks the 35th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic in the United States. The first report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emerged in 1981, during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan. This year, the Black AIDS Institute (BAI), Los Angeles, California, launched a new group of AIDS activists-aimed at building HIV/AIDS science literacy in Black communities in the US. The curriculum of the BAI, includes instruction in program planning, implementation, community mobilization and treatment. See an earlier publication of the institution at: http://www.blackaids.org/images/reports/enuf.pdf. We are reminded that community activism and treatment remain a necessary aspect of the struggle against the epidemic, although it is also important to understand its historical context, and the various global forces and situations that led to the outbreak of the epidemic, in the first place.
We thank the contributors to this issue of “Africa Update" for their illuminating articles
Professor Gloria Emeagwali
Perceptions on the Education of the Blind and Visually Impaired
in Selected State Capitals in Nigeria
Dr. David Oyebamiji Akanji,
Dr. David Oyebamiji Akanji,
Many African countries have shown a feasible commitment towards the realization of policies on special education, by providing equal educational opportunities for all children, irrespective of their physical and mental conditions (Boomie, 2004). Despite these policies, the dream of most persons with special needs, concerning adequate educational preparation for employment and support services, is yet to be realized. In line with this, the World Health Organization (2001) reported that students with special needs across Africa, have been characterized by lack of vision and commitment, inadequate funding, lack of necessary interest among experts, and negative attitudes toward children with special needs, some of which have been influenced by African values, tradition and culture (Abosi, 1999).
Education of the visually impaired in Nigeria is a very important issue in special education, which needs to receive increasing attention. As indicated by Fafunwa (2002), a conflict exists between desirable intentions and the implementation of those desirable intentions, due to differing value judgments about special needs. Fafunwa further noted that while the various government attitudes toward the education of children with special needs are enlightened, favorable, and worthy of commendation, such laudable attitudes are seldom reflected in the implementation of special education programmes. The actual allocation of funds to special education is usually insignificant, and does not reflect the expectations of various national policies on special education, policies that guarantee equal educational opportunities for all citizens (Boomie, 2004).
As a result of inadequate management of special education in Nigerian public schools, many blind children do not have the opportunity to continue their education (Boomie, 2004). If these children are given the opportunity to use their intelligence in the most productive way, they too could have contributed immeasurably to the progress of the country as a whole. As indicated by Boomie, parents, teachers, and students are concerned that the Nigerian government has not been fully committed to implementing that part of its educational policy which promised to equalize educational opportunities for all children regardless of their physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. A common problem of schools in Nigeria, according to Boomie (2004) is the lack of sufficient library facilities to provide reading materials for the visually handicapped. Another obstacle that has been contributing immensely to the mismanagement of the education of the blind in Nigeria, is the simple fact that the majority of those who head various educational institutions in Nigeria are not properly educated to help provide appropriate services to students with visual impairment (Schwab & Kagame, 1993). As a matter of fact, the field of visual impairment in Nigeria currently lacks well-trained personnel. Due to lack of sufficient funds, school districts are not able to provide necessary trained personnel, teaching materials, and library resources to fulfill the special needs of the blind and visually impaired student.
The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of teachers and principals regarding the importance of policies and practices for the management of the education of the blind, the problems associated with certain policies and practices and the problems facing academic performance of students with visual impairment. In order to achieve these purposes, we sought the perceptions of school principals and teachers in Nigerian public schools, about the extent to which certain policies and practices were important for the management of persons (students) with blindness within their school system? The perceptions of school principals and teachers regarding the academic performance of blind students were also assessed.
The participants for the study consisted of school principals and classroom teachers with at least two years’ work experiences, in the three capital cities of Lagos, Ilorin and Jos. The participants were 512 in number, comprising 32 principals and 480 classroom teachers. Table 1 explains the distribution of the participants, accordingly.
The instrument used for the study was the survey instrument. The scale consisted of 8 parts. Part 1 elicited questions on demographic information of the participants, such as gender, current status (teacher or principal), years of teaching experience, and/or years of administrative experience. Part 2 consisted of 15 multiple choice items designed to determine the perceptions of school teachers and principals regarding certain policies and practices. Perceptions were ranked in a 5-point Likert scale, ranging from unimportant to important. Part 3 consisted of 15 multiple choice items about the perceptions of school teachers and principals regarding problems and policies detrimental to persons with blindness or visual impairment. Part 4 consisted of 10 multiple choice items designed to determine the perceptions of school teachers and principals, regarding the extent to which certain factors affect the academic performance students with blindness and visual impairment. These were ranked on a 5 point Likert scale, ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree.
Part 5 consisted of 10 multiple choice items designed to determine the perceptions of school teachers and principals regarding the self-concept of students with visual impairment. The items were scored on a five-point Likert scale. Part 6 examined commitment of certain organizations to prevent blindness, and comprised five multiple choice items designed to determine the perceptions that school teachers and principals had, with respect to federal, state and local governments, and private organizations in Nigeria. The items were scored on a five point Likert scale, ranging from “Not Adequate”, to “Highly Adequate”. Part 7 and 8 were open-ended items, seeking opinions of teachers and principals regarding the importance of current policies and practices adopted in school systems, for management of persons with visual impairment. These parts 7 and 8 also surveyed the opinion of the participants on the weakness of current policies and practices. Using Cronbach Alpha methodology, the reliability coefficient of the instrument ranged from 0.78 (academic performance of students with blindness and visual impairment), 0.81 (inclusion problems of the special needs blind students, and 0.84 (policies and practices for management of the education of the blind).
The data collection process was conducted with the assistance of a volunteer committed to taking the researcher to the public schools selected for the study. This process included a sequence of procedures, such as making telephone contacts with the Ministry of Education in each of the three state capitals selected for the study, to secure permission, and making appointments with principals of ten public schools in each of the three state capitals, to explain the purpose of the study. Follow-ups were made through telephone calls and electronic mails to ensure maximum rate of return necessary for testing the research hypotheses. Thereafter, a quantitative design was used to analyse the responses of the participating teachers and principals to the open-ended items of the scale. The data collected were then analysed through the use of descriptive statistics of frequency distribution, mean and standard deviation and inferential statistics of frequency distribution, and inferential statistics of t-test and Pearson Product Moment Correlation (PPMC).
Participants called for appropriate academic advisement and career counselling for students who were blind; allocation of necessary funds for special needs of student who are blind and with visual impairment; educating students who are blind and who have visual impairment about availability of certain accommodations that help facilitate their special needs; and effective policies and practices that could influence academic standards and accountability of students with visual impairment. Others include the involvement of parents who are blind, in the decisions that reflect their children’s specific academic needs; adequate educational tools and library resources; well-planned supervision strategies for applying policies and implementing appropriate curricular and teaching strategies to help students with blindness achieve their academic goals. Other policies and practices include developing support strategies for mainstream courses; identification of learning disabilities through appropriate placement tests and the extensive use of collaborative efforts and accommodations for special needs students (Table 1).
The inclusion problems rated by the participants, in order of importance, include: lack of proper knowledge about teaching in an inclusive classroom; lack of adequate policies for inclusion of students with special needs; misconceptions about students with visual impairment; lack of joint effort among general and special education teachers; lack of proper accommodation ; uncertainly about the contribution of inclusion to special needs students; budgetary restrictions to continue inclusion efforts; and lack of appropriate knowledge about inclusion programmes . Others include lack of supportive evaluation strategies for inclusion practices; lack of necessary parental orientation, participation and support; lack of necessary administrative support to implement inclusion; lack of adequate research on policies for inclusion of special needs students, and lack of necessary qualified teachers for implementing inclusion policies and practices (Table 2).
The majority of the participants either agreed, moderately agreed or disagreed with the statements, regarding the academic performance of students with visual impairment on order of importance: (Table 3).
The findings of the study showed that implementing certain policies and practices is important for any effective management of the education of the visually in Nigerian public schools. As perceived by participating teachers and principals, the most important policies and practices include appropriate academic advice and career counselling. Concerning research question two, it could be concluded that in Nigerian public schools there are many obstacles associated with inclusion of special needs students into the regular classroom. As perceived by the participating teachers and principals, the most extensive obstacles include: lack of proper knowledge about teaching in inclusive classroom, lack of adequate policies for inclusion of special needs students, misconceptions about students, misconceptions about students with visual impairment, lack of joint efforts among general and special education teachers, and lack of proper accommodations for inclusion of special needs students.
1. School administrators should provide additional group tutorial opportunities for students with special needs, as a follow- up to the inclusion of classroom activities.
2. Parental involvement in the education of students with visual impairment should be emphasized. School administrators should concentrate on the importance of PTA contributions to the educational accomplishment of special needs students, through continuous follow-up on the part of teachers, and parents.
3. Teachers should create enabling learning environments for all students, with equal opportunities for them to enrich their academic achievement.
4. Effective instructional strategies, suitable to the needs of all students, should be adopted. Teachers are encouraged to actively participate in cooperative efforts in core academic areas.
5. Parents of persons with visual impairment and varied special needs, should complement the effort of teachers and school administrations.
List of Tables
Table 1: Importance of policies and practices for management of blind education
Table 2: Inclusion Problems Affecting Special Needs of the Blind and Visually Impaired Students
Table 3: Perceptions of Participating Teachers and Principals regarding academic performance of blind students
Boomie, O. (2004). Motherland Nigeria: Geography (States and Capitals). (Online). Retrieved from http:www.motherlandnigeria.com.
Fafunwa, A. Babs, (2002). History of education in Nigeria. Ibadan, Nigeria: NPS Educational Publishers Limited. Page.308.
Schwab, L., and Kagame, K. (1993). Blindness in Africa: Zimbabwe schools for the blind survey. British Journal of Opthamology 77:410-412 doi:10.1136/bjo.77.7.410
With respect to bibliographic resources on AIDS in the Belgian Congo 1960, the easiest starting point would be to look up the many articles by Jérome Rodhain describing the injection of humans with chimpanzee blood, from about 1940 to 1960, or a bit longer. These were often psychotic psychiatry patients. There are a dozen or so of these articles in the Journal ‘Annales de la Société belge de médecine tropicale’ from 1935 to 1965. There are two English articles describing the Jérome Rodhain chimpanzee blood injections into humans: ‘The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’. 1948. Volume 28. Issue 5. Page 629-631. And ‘Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’. 1956. Volume 50. Issue 3. Page 287-293.
There exist also articles from the French injecting humans with chimpanzee blood. This would be for instance an article in ‘C R Soc Biol’ or ‘Bull. Soc. Pathol. Exot.’ from 1928 or 1932. This article describes the same research as the LMS reports in Kindia, Cameroon. Most likely it is in the ‘C. R. Soc. Biol.’ volume from 1932 and you can find it by looking for poliovirus in the index of the volume on microfilm archives. There is also an article in the ‘Annals de l’Institut Pasteur de Dakar’, from the 1920s or later, describing the large scale production of sooty mangabey hyperimmune serum against yellow fever for use in humans. It seems the French used that mostly for Blacks in the colonies. This sooty mangabey serum administration led to HIV-2 while it caused HIV-1 group N and O in the Kindia Pasteur Institute in Cameroon.
Search also for Archives de l’Institut Pasteur de Dakar. The volumes are not that large and can be searched in a day to a week. See the article, ‘Utilisation du chimpanzé pour la préparation du sérum antipoliomyélite’. Auguste Pettit, Berthe Erber et Constantin Kolochine. See also “Comptes rendus des séances et Mémoires de la Société de biologie et de ses filiales et associées.” 1932. Volume 109. Page 821-825.’. This article describes plans for polio antiserum from chimpanzees for human injection on a large scale. It should be possible to retrace this article by searching the index of ‘C R Soc Biol’ and ‘Bull Soc Pathol Exot’ from 1928 for poliovirus. These two articles provide serious evidence for HIV-2 and HIV-1 group N and O introduction by the French. See also‘Annales de l’Institut Pasteur. 1928. Volume 42. Page 363-379.’.
As far as transfusions of humans with chimpanzee blood goes, there was a news broadcast on Belgian national television mentioning this at the time of the Kikwit Ebola epidemic. A Congolese doctor that rescued a lot of patients by transfusion of blood of the recovered patients into the patients that were still ill, mentioned, during an interview in French, that he had learned this technique from Paul Osterrieth in the LMS where they transfused patients with chimpanzee blood. There are in total several dozens of articles describing monkey blood injection into humans in mainly French articles.
It is inevitable that sooner or later the truth about HIV and viral hepatitis will emerge. There is just no good scientific explanation for the sudden origin of these viruses. Here are some relevant sources.