Instructor canvasses support for physically-challenged persons

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LAGOS – A visually-impaired computer instructor, Mr Babatunde Mohammed, on Tuesday urged individuals and corporate organisations to emulate JAMB by giving hope to physically-challenged persons in Nigeria.

Mohammed worked as a monitor for blind candidates at the University of Lagos ETC Centre at the ongoing all Computer Based Test (CBT) organised by JAMB.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 38 visually impaired candidates were among the over 1.4 million candidates writing the 2015 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Lagos.

He said the acquisition of the Braille Note Apex machine by JAMB for the visually-impaired candidates for the CBT showed its determination to propel this category of Nigerians to their desired height.

Mohammed said such a feat was a welcome development, adding that there was an urgent need for Nigerians to look inwards by emulating the gesture.

“With this sort of machine in place, the interest of the blind students in information and communication Technology will, in no small measure, be aroused.

“Since this examination is all CBT, they will know more about the operations of the computer and, therefore, these special people could have been empowered for the rest of their lives.

“Again, with the introduction of this CBT, Nigeria has been positioned on a pedestal for an accelerated technological advancement,” he said.
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He, however, decried the improper use of funds donated by governments for the acquisition of equipment for Schools for the Blind.

“The Federal and State Governments have done well in ensuring that inclusive education thrive in the country, considering the various interventions projects they had so far embarked upon.

“But it is becoming disturbing when these interventions, sometimes, are not channelled appropriately for the purpose for which they are meant for.

“This development is not helping the cause of physically challenged persons in their quest to attain a level playing field for academic excellence.

“And that is why I will like to commend JAMB for taking this giant stride,” Mohammed said.

Mr Clement Ojo, a JAMB official and Braille Technical staff at the centre, told NAN that the board had, by this feat, broken another record.

According to him, bringing the concept to reality in testing is one major feat that will continue to put the board well ahead of others.

“I will like to stress that these blind candidates are excited with the introduction of these new machines.

“ This kind of refreshable braille displayed for the impaired is the first of its kind in sub-Sahara Africa.

“Initially, a lot of people taught it cannot be achieved.

“But we have proved that it is not true because these machines are digital forms of the normal Perkins Brailles they are used to.

“The only difference is that while Perkins is analogue, the Apex Note is digital, but share similar functions, except for the fact that works done on the Apex are stored in memory discs.

“The candidates have been working on their own unassisted,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, NAN reports that all the logistics needed for the success of the examination were fully on ground. (NAN)


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