ArticlePDF Available

UNIVERSAL BASIC EDUCATION AND THE EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN: THE COUNSELLING SERVICES PROVISION

Authors:

Abstract

The Universal basic Education is an attempt by the Federal Government to make every Nigerian citizen literate. It is an innovation in the educational system designed to achieve efficiency of the education enterprise. The exceptional child is expected to benefit from the scheme as their needs are multi-faceted. The paper was discussed with reference to people with special needs. The paper also discussed how to ensure collaboration between UBE and special needs education in order to achieve the objective of appropriate education for all learners. The paper specifically focuses on their need for counselling services. It was evident from the discussion that there are problems which counselling services would alleviate for them. The implications of this for the UBE scheme were discussed and recommendations that would make the scheme more relevant to the total development of this exceptional people were revealed.
UNIVERSAL BASIC EDUCATION AND THE EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN:
THE COUNSELLING SERVICES PROVISION.
NWADINOBI V.N (M.Ed)
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY
NWAFOR ORIZU COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, NSUGBE.
Abstract The Universal basic Education is an attempt by the Federal Government to make
every Nigerian citizen literate. It is an innovation in the educational system designed
to achieve efficiency of the education enterprise. The exceptional child is expected to
benefit from the scheme as their needs are multi-faceted. The paper was discussed
with reference to people with special needs. The paper also discussed how to ensure
collaboration between UBE and special needs education in order to achieve the
objective of appropriate education for all learners. The paper specifically focuses on
their need for counselling services. It was evident from the discussion that there are
problems which counselling services would alleviate for them. The implications of
this for the UBE scheme were discussed and recommendations that would make the
scheme more relevant to the total development of this exceptional people were
revealed.
Introduction
Education is a good avenue that could be utilized to change people's way of thinking, belief system,
attitudes, orientation, perceptions and so on. Nigerian governments in the past has as a result
designed programmes that could enable! citizens to be educated. Such programmes were given
diverse names such as Free Primary Education, Universal Primary Education. The most recent in the
series these programmes is the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Scheme launched President
Olusegun Obasanjo on the 30th of September 1999 in Sokoto State programme has its origin in the
Jomtien Thailand Declaration and Framework I Action on Education For All (EFA) in the year 2000.
Many writers have express their views concerning the Universal Basic Education especially as it
concern children with special needs. Obani (2000) observed that both the Final Report Jomtien
Conference, and the World Declaration of Education For All made only brief mention of children
with special needs and gave no indication as to how to include them in the implementation
of the natural plans on EFA.
The Jomtien Projection of Education for All defined Basic Education as a close articulation
of the formal, the non-formal and informal approaches to and structures for the awakening,
and all round development of the human potential. The broad aim is to lay the foundations
for life - long learning through inculcation of appropriate learning to learn, self-awareness
and life skills.
However, Obanya (2000) sees UBE as essential tool for liberating the creative energies of
Nigerians for the task of National development. He argued that the state of progress of
Nigeria and its ranking among Nations of the world are not measured by affluence of a few,
but by the quality of life of the average citizen. The Universality of the programme is
reflected in the goals and objectives of UBE which sets out to do the following: 1.
Developing in the entire citizenry a strong consciousness for education and a
strong commitment to its vigorous promotion;
The provision of free, Universal basic education for every Nigerian child of school -
going age;
Reducing drastically the incidence of drop-out from the formal school system
(through improved relevance, quality and efficiency); 4. Catering for the learning needs
of young persons who, for one reason or another,
have to interrupt their schooling (through appropriate forms of complementary
approaches to the provision and promotion of basic education);
Ensuring the acquisition of the appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy,
manipulative, ethical, moral and civil values needed for laying a solid
foundation for life-long learning.
However, Basic Education within the Nation's context is a process to be
determined within the evolutionary development of the nation, according to
Jomtien's recommendations. In specific terms, Universal Basic Education
embraces the following;
programmes/initiatives for early childhood care and socialization;
education programmes for the acquisition of functional literacy, numeracy and
life, Skills especially for adults;
special programmes for nomadic populations;
out of school, non formal, programmes for up-dating the knowledge and
skills of perspns who left school before acquiring the basic skills needed for
life-long learning.
non-formal skills and apprenticeship training for adolescents and youths who
have not had the benefit of formal education;
6. the formal school system from the beginning of primary education to the en« of the junior
secondary school. Obani (2000) observed that this section it essence lists the coverage and
intended beneficiaries of the UBE Programme Except for the "nomadic populations" that is
mentioned, all other sul populations in the group of children and adults with special
educational 01 special learning needs are seemingly excluded. He further expressed that all
sub groups may ho siibwQefg&d wilder the universality and if&ciusivefi&ss
the groups. The fear remains that they could as well be forgotten or ignored.
For the purpose of this paper Exceptional Child simply means an individual who deviates
from the norm (either below or above) to the extent that such individual requires an
individualized programme of Special Education. Kirk (1972) define an exceptional person as
one who deviates from the normal or average child in mental, physical, and social
characteristics to such an extent that he requires a modification of school practices or special
educational services in order to develop to his maximum capacity. This will include among
others, the gifted and talented, mentallj retarded, physically handicapped, speech disorder,
visually impaired, hearing impaired e.t.c all these deviation from the normal make them to be
referred to as exceptional children, or people with handicapping condition. However to
counsel this group of people especially at the lower level of education requires some skills to
be employed by the professionally trained counsellor.
UBE and Exceptional Children
The aim of Universal Basic Education is to equip individuals with such knowledge, skills,
attitudes that will enable them live meaningful and fulfilling lives. In line with this, the
National Policy on Education (2004) recongnizes the need to provide special education for
children with disabilities. The policy states that:
Special Education is a formal
Special educational training given to people with
(Children & adult) with special needs. This group
of people may be classified into three categories (P.47)
The three categories of children and adult are those regarded as disabled, the disadvantage,
and the gifted and talented. The goals of special education for these three categories of
people are meant to provide:
- adequate education for all people with special needs.
- a diversified and appropriate curriculum for all the beneficiaries.
The Introduction of the new Universal Basic Education was to afford every Nigerian child of
school going age the opportunity of acquiring the basic education necessary in ensuring the
acquisition of the appropriate level of literacy, numeracy manipulative and life skills needed
for laying the foundation for life-long learning.
s
Disabled persons are however individuals who require special attention to be able to" achieve
the objectives of the UBE goal. They also have the right to a fuller life and vigorous
activities as their abilities or disabilities can afford them. Many of these disabled children
need special aids in order to function effectively. If these aids are not provided for them they
will be at a disadvantage and may not be able to cope with the other normal children.
Exceptional persons need the provision of special education facilities to enable them to learn
effectively which could lead to self-reliance. When all the necessary equipment are in place
for the use of disabled children, they can then acquire necessary skills needed for life and
living. If special education can effect significant improvement in the education of those
regarded as uneducable, difficult to handle, behaviour disordered, the visually impaired and
the
tiara of Hearing e.t.c. UDani (2000) opines mat it would even make more
significant
improvement on the education of the so-called normal or regular students. For this reason,
the UBE has no option than to embrace and involve special needs education in its vision and
mission statements as well as in the overall implementation and management of the
programme.
Inclusion of Exceptional Children In Ube Programme
For UBE to succeed in it's inclusiveness, the experts in special education should be called in
to modify, to adapt, to differentiate the curriculum for the different needs of learners and to
advice on the best approaches and methods to adopt in meeting these learning needs. The
special educator has a wealth of experience in such areas as classroom management and
organization, well structured and systematized instructional strategies e.g Clinical Teaching,
Mastery Learning, Diagnostic - Prescriptive Teaching (D P T), Task Analysis, Applied
Behaviour Analysis and non stress for precise methods of Assessment and evaluation. The
objectives of the UBE can be achieved in no little measure if special needs educator are
involved in planning and implementation. The Needs and counselling involvement of
Exceptional Children:
*
Several attempts have been made to expose the needs of exceptional persons by Scholars.
Okeke (1998) discovered that the handicapped children have counselling needs as much as
their non-handicapped peers. A survey study of 100 parents on perception of the counselling
needs of the handicapped by Okeke (1998) revealed that the subjects perceived the
handicapped to be in need of personal, social, educational and vocational counselling.
Counselling, in the"-wprds' of Gesinde (1997) is a professional assistance given by a
counsellor to an individual or group of individuals who are either able or disabled for the
purpose of understanding their conflicting areas of life better, detecting
^alternative solutions to problems and living a fulfilled life. Counselling
facilitates meaningful understanding of self and environment and results in the establishment
and ur clarification of goals and values for future behaviour (sherlzer and stone, 1980).
The interaction of counselling with other helping professionals and learning has been
exposed by Okoye, N. N., Adejumo, D. , Achebe C. (1990) and Olayinka (1993). While
Okoye, N. N., Adejumo, D., Achebe C. (1990) refer to counselling as 'helping one to
understand possible ways and means of effecting an acceptable solution to one's problems'
Olayinka (1993) conceived it to 'be learning - oriented process which stress more rational
planning, problem solving, and support for situational pressures arising in the everyday lives
of normal people. Counselling is therefore, a professional assistance and helping profession.
It is also an interaction and learning process. The counselling services to be rendered to the
counsellee are in two fold. Counselling can be on individual and group basis. When a
counsellor counsels a counsellee it is individual counselling whereas when a counsellor
counsels groups of counselees it is group counselling or multiple counselling. From the
foregoing, exceptional persons have one thing or the other to gain from counselling services
rendered by the counsellor.
Types Of Counselling Services For Persons Wish Exceptionalities
There are three principal counselling services that a counsellor could render to children with
exceptionalities. These are:
1. Educational counselling
2. Vocational counselling
3. Socio-personal counselling
Educational counselling: This is a kind of counselling service aimed at assisting counsellees
resolve problems that would hinder them from achieving their academic goals. Exceptional
persons just like other persons are faced with a number of educational problems such as non-
attendance behaviour, poor academic performance, poor study habits, poor memory,
examination anxiety, malpractice school phobia, academic failure, inappropriate subject
selection and so on. These problems would not make learning to be result oriented, hence the
need for educational counselling.
Counsellors would use a number of counselling techniques to resolve these academic related
problems. Forjn^tance, catching oneself and task setting from Adlerian Counselling Therapy
will help them to identify and anticipate resultant effects of undesirable behaviour like
examination malpractices and how to withdraw from it. It will also enable them set attainable
task. within time limit. Systematic desensitization of the behaviours will remove school
phobia, examination phobia, tension and anxiety. Positive and negative reinforcement will
increase repetition of desired behaviour.
Vocational Counselling: When clients are faced with career - related problems, vocational
counselling is used to alleviate these problems. The end result of schooling should be a
befitting occupation. This is however, not the case, in most cases for. persons with
disabilities. The vocational failure of this category of individuals is summed up in way by
Idowu (1987): A critical study of the career behaviour of the
handicapped persons reveals that they are
vocationally unsuccessful due to the traditional
bias Of the employers of labour, parents,
community and school, and all these result in
lack of self-confidence on the part of this group.
At the school level, persons with disabilities are faced with choice of subject
problem choice of career, disabilities which put limit to their vocational aspiration vocational
training and retraining problems, etc. These problems and many others" subjected to
counselling techniques manipulation. The conviction that there is ability in disability makes
counselling remedy practicable.
Counsellors efforts are geared towards understanding the abilities, interests, strength and
weaknesses of the disabled persons vis-a vis their vocational aspiration. The congruence
between these two factors is used to make vocational decision. A number of tests have been
developed to identify vocational interest areas of persons with or without exceptionalities. A
case in point is Vocational Interest Inventory (VII), by Bakere, Career Counselling is used to
expose clients to diverse issues surrounding their vocational aspirations. This is aimed at
preventing vocational maladjustment.
Socio-Personal Counselling: Problems that are neither educational nor vocationally inclined
are socio-personal problems. Hence, Socio-personal counselling is employed to rectify them.
The interaction of persons with disabilities with others who are with or without disabilities
bring about a lot of Socio-Personal conflict. Problems 0f this nature include low self concept,
low self-esteem, poor interpersonal relationship; shyness, aggressiveness, loneliness,
withdrawal, depression, addictive behaviour, self-care problem, sex and health related
problems, family and religious problems, emotional or psychological disturbance, etc. These
and many others in this category are resolved with counselling techniques like assertiveness,
training, reinforcement principles, self monitoring and management methods, social skills
training, respective thinking, modelling, etc.
Implication for we Scheme.
The UBE Scheme is designed to cater for the educational needs of persons with and without
exceptionalities. It is clearly evident from the foregoing that the former are faced with certain
problems, which may prevent them from benefiting maximally from the scheme. One
probable remedy identified by this paper is the provision of counselling services. Evidences
from this paper point to the need for counselling services for persons or children with
disabilities. This therefore implies that for the scheme to cater for all round development of
the exceptional persons, personnel (guidance counsellors) saddled with the responsibility of
providing counselling services must be made available. Bearing in mind that there are other
services to be rendered by such personnel for the purpose of adjusting exceptional children or
persons to the demands of their environment. Such other services include orientation,
placement, appraisal testing, research, referral, information provision, career guidance,
follow up among others.
The introduction of UBE represents a paradigm shift in the educational policy of Nigeria in
view of all the changes and innovations envisaged. Universal Basic Scheme is a prime
energizer of a National Movement for the actualization of mass literacy and all tiers of
government, parents, teachers, non-governmental organizations, private sectors must be
mobilized in the nation to ensure that "Education for ALL" becomes "Business for ALL."
Training of Professionals should be in top gear so as to have adequately trained manpower to
execute the programme. The place of special education in UBE is very vital and for effective
implementation of UBE programme in Nigeria and to ensure that exceptional persons benefit
from UBE programme collaboration is needed between UBE and special education
programme.
On the promise of the need for counselling by exceptional children and persons and
invaluable services to be rendered by counsellors to this group of individuals as revealed
from the discussion it is recommended that:
1. The federal government should include the training and appointment of counsellors in
the UBE Scheme Programmes.
2. The federal government should provide separate budget for
counselling activities in the UBE Scheme.
3. Counselling association of Nigeria (CASSON) members saddled with the
development of blueprint and implementation of UBE Scheme should ensure the
inclusion of counselling programmes in the UBE activities.
4. Above all, the Need for counselling services in the UBE Scheme Should be made
known to the Federal Government by the exceptional persons themselves.
The success of Universal Basic Education Programme could be achieved only if proper
rehabilitation programme is put in place to keep off street begging by some handicapped
persons and this is possible if professional counsellors provide the necessary services and
ensure that rehabilitants are job placed.
REFERENCES:
Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004), National Policy on Education (4th Ed). Lagos: NERDC.
Federal Republic of Nigeria (2000), Federal Ministry of Education Proposed Implementation
Blue Print for Universal Basic Education Scheme. Abuja: Government Press.
Idowu, S. (1987), The Career Behaviour of handicapped student A counselling input.
Nigerian Journal of Educational Psychology 2 (1) 41-46.
Kirk, S. A. (1972) Educating Exceptional Children, Boston: Hongston Mifflin.
Obani, T. C (2000): The UBE Programme in Nigeria and people with special educational
needs. Being the text of the 4th Annual Public Lecture of the School of Education
(Special), Oyo, on 6th Sept.
Obanya, P. (2000): Education for all is the business for us all. A paper delivered at the
opening ceremony of local policy dialogue on UBE.
Okeke, B. A (1998), Perception of the counselling needs of the handicapped by parents: A
Survey Study. The counsellor 16 (1) 156-164.
Okoye, N.N, Adejunio, D, Achebe, C (1990) Fundamentals of guidance and counselling
Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books (Nigeria) Limited.
Olayinka, M. S. (1993) Guidance and counselling for Nigerian Schools. Lagos: Lattern
Books.
Shertzer, B and Stone, S. C. (1980). Fundamentals of counselling. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
A comprehensive introductory textbook dealing with exceptional children and their special educational needs. The author found "the concept of split growth, or discrepancies in growth" particularly applicable to exceptional children and considers this the main contribution of his book. The exceptional child is defined as "that child who deviates from the average or normal child in mental, physical, or social characteristics to such an extent that he requires a modification of school practices, or special educational services, in order to develop to his maximum capacity." Discussion questions and selected references after each of the 14 chapters. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Federal Ministry of Education Proposed Implementation Blue Print for Universal Basic Education Scheme
Federal Republic of Nigeria (2000), Federal Ministry of Education Proposed Implementation Blue Print for Universal Basic Education Scheme. Abuja: Government Press.
The Career Behaviour of handicapped student A counselling input
  • S Idowu
Idowu, S. (1987), The Career Behaviour of handicapped student A counselling input. Nigerian Journal of Educational Psychology 2 (1) 41-46.
The UBE Programme in Nigeria and people with special educational needs. Being the text of the 4th Annual Public Lecture of the School of Education (Special)
  • T Obani
Obani, T. C (2000): The UBE Programme in Nigeria and people with special educational needs. Being the text of the 4th Annual Public Lecture of the School of Education (Special), Oyo, on 6th Sept.
Education for all is the business for us all. A paper delivered at the opening ceremony of local policy dialogue on UBE
  • P Obanya
Obanya, P. (2000): Education for all is the business for us all. A paper delivered at the opening ceremony of local policy dialogue on UBE.
Perception of the counselling needs of the handicapped by parents: A Survey Study
  • B Okeke
Okeke, B. A (1998), Perception of the counselling needs of the handicapped by parents: A Survey Study. The counsellor 16 (1) 156-164.
Guidance and counselling for Nigerian Schools
  • M S Olayinka
Olayinka, M. S. (1993) Guidance and counselling for Nigerian Schools. Lagos: Lattern Books.