NUC To Add Autism Studies In University Curriculum

Report reaching news desk has it that, The National Universities Commission (NUC) on Thursday said it would include the study of Autism in its university curriculum.

This was made known to grapevine by the Executive Secretary, Prof. Julius Okojie.

Prof. Julius Okojie disclosed this at a one-day seminar organised by the commission in collaboration with Autism Care and Support Initiative (ACSI), an NGO in Abuja.

The theme of the seminar is ”The need for professional awareness and capacity building in the field of special education in Nigerian universities – a focus on autism.”

Okojie said autism should be viewed from a new perspective and beyond family because it was a national issue.

He said it was the responsibility of all to ensure care and management of the young and elderly in the society, especially those with special needs.

Okojie called on educators to devise means of making special education affordable and qualitative.

He explained further that the commission would convene a stakeholders meeting to chart a course for the effective management of autism.

Also, former Minister of Aviation, Dr Kema Chikwe, described NUC’s move as a “progressive idea to institutionalise the care of autism”.

Chikwe, said it was fundamental to train and have educated and experienced people to handle autism.

“If there is success in bringing autism issue into the curriculum, then the management of the disorder will be professional,” she noted.

She also advised parents with autistic children to seek professional help in their upbringing and management.

Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of the Initiative, Dr Julia Ejiogu, said there was a need for professional awareness and capacity building in the field of special education with a focus on autism.

Ejiogu said children with autism often faced many challenges and stigma because of lack of awareness on the brain disorder.

She said the collaboration with NUC to integrate the studies into universities curriculum would help graduates understand the needs of the children for effective learning.

In his address, the Director of Academic Standards in the NUC, Prof. Alhassan Bichi, said that awareness on autism and care was not fully absorbed.

Bichi said the NUC planned to develop a curriculum that would dwell on the clinical and social aspects of autism.

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