LEARNING & EDUCATION INITIATIVES
The aim of this initiative is to ensure that persons with albinism, especially children with albinism, have access to qualitative education. The overall welfare and development of persons with albinism is strongly contingent upon proper learning and education. As a result the foundation chooses to pay premium to ensuring that as many persons with albinism, ranging from pre-school to post-graduate members, have access to grants and scholarships that will enable them attain whatever level of quality education they desire.
EDUCATION: A DETERMINING FACTOR FOR SUCCESS
Looking back at history through the lens of the present clearly reveals how much the world has advanced from where it used to be. To what would we credit such progression than to the relentless educating of mens’ minds, both formally and informally.
Education, basically, is the acquisition of knowledge through learning and it can be either formal; which consists of the officially established and controlled conventional requirements and norms of primary, secondary and tertiary schooling; or informal, which consists of the more loosely patterned structure of home schooling and vocational skill trainings.
In whatever form, educational growth and learning in every ramification stands as a vital prerequisite of any given society. It is that growth that produces the white-collar professionals such as doctors, lawyers and engineers, and that same growth that produces the blue-collar mechanics, tailors and carpenters. Any healthy society should constitute a melting pot of the products of these types of education.
As a foundation, it remains our priority to assist persons with albinism attain the greatest good in all areas of their lives, but especially as it relates to a good education.
The rewards of a good formal education cannot be de- emphasized, because it lays a stable foundation for all future endeavors of any given child. A good formal education can best be likened to the sub-structural stratum in the life of a child. The quality of education a child is exposed to in their formative years will strongly determine the future of the child hence the foundation’s strong efforts in ensuring that the environment in which children with albinism study and learn is conducive.
Before now, teachers and educators were ignorant of the visual challenges that children with albinism faced in the classroom and as such never paid proper attention to their complaints about being unable to see the blackboard, or their having to come out to squint at it.
Recurring complaints by children and parents in monthly TAF meetings revealed this anomaly and the foundation began to seek permanent ways to remedy the situation.
Sensitization workshops in various parts of the country, strictly for educators and parents of children with albinism were one of the strategies employed in partnership with the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN), but the most effective approach in dealing with the issue was through the National Council of Education sessions. The NCE forum annually brought together the Honourable Minister of Education, Permanent Secretaries, Directors and Educators from the entire federation to debate for and against pending policy drafts and blueprints that relate to education. It was on this platform that the National Policy on Albinism and its Implementation Guidelines was approved.
The policy among other things included mainstreaming albinism education into the school curriculum to ensure that it became a subject to be taught. This remains a major milestone achievement for TAF as ignorance in dealing with persons with albinism in the classroom is gradually being dispelled.
It is beyond certain that with grounded confidence from the home front and a conducive learning environment in the classroom, at whatever level, persons with albinism will undoubtedly excel and succeed in the various career possibilities that await them.