Cameroon: Fostering Inclusive Education - Research Protecting Deaf Students Presented

A latest Master's Degree thesis on improving the lot of hearing impaired persons has earned an honorary mark for a lady candidate in the University of Buea.

The University of Buea (UB) has valued a research paper to secure the enhancement of persons with hearing impairment. The presentation, under the supervision of Dr. Tani Emmanuel, sought to create awareness of the various challenges faced by students with hearing impairment. It happened recently when UB awarded a Master's Degree with honours to a female candidate, Achanwih Eveline Fobellah, who worked on "Social Support and its Influence on Social Adjustment of Students with Hearing Impairment in Buea Sub-Division."

Achanwih bagged a Master's Degree from the Department of Educational Psychology (UB's Faculty of Education, FED) after spending two years researching and writing on ways to pull out hard-of-hearing children from the shelving of families and society. The aim of the study was for such special need children to gain equal and even more limelight and attention so as to also enjoy educational advancement like other offspring.

Although Achanwih Eveline Fobellah limited her case study to Buea Sub-Division (capital of the South West Region-Cameroon), her findings epitomised what obtains in the whole national territory and beyond with families hiding their handicapped children in their homes and projecting only the able ones for progress. Her hypothesis wonders if the families and society will continue to eclipse their physically challenged children from social view. This, especially when scientific methods exist to pull them out of the doldrums. The study shows how many parents erroneously feel ashamed to have produced such physically disabled at all. This, to the latest Master's Degree earner, Achanwih, runs counter to the law of nature which provides that "physical disability is not inability".

In an hour-long projection and defense of her thesis at the UB's Faculty of Education Boardroom, a jury headed by Professor Shey Patrick who is Head of the Department of Psychology, grilled Achanwih on her findings. They rained academic questions about the objectives of the study, her review of related literature, methods and procedures, and the contribution of the work to knowledge. The candidate proved lucid, schooled and master of her piece. Drawing inspiration from earlier writings of the quoted Moeller, 2007, as well as Gresham Sugai and Horner 2001, the candidate showed that most of the hearing impaired children come from unsupportive families and are ignorantly discriminated upon by society. The researcher, Achanwih, presents her statement of the problem painting a picture of a hearing impaired student as going through a difficult process of adjustment to college environment. She concludes that if not checked and put under greater attention, such a special need learner may find it frustrating, overwhelming, depressing and leading to poor academic outcomes. Yet, the author of the research generates hope in her 22-page presentation underscoring that when proper learning conditions are met, the hard-of-hearing ends up exteriorizing very high level skills in society.

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