A new pathway to education and career success for Deaf, Deaf Blind, and Hard-of-Hearing Nigerians has been opened, thanks to an historic agreement between Wesley University, Gallaudet University, and the Nigerian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD). A memorandum of understanding (MOU) to formally establish connection between the three entities that will lead to unparalleled opportunities for this community of Nigerians was signed on Monday, November 5, 2018 in Gallaudet University Chapel Hall Museum.
Thanks to the leadership of Gallaudet President Roberta Cordano and School of Education, Business, and Human Services (SEBHS) Dean Khadijat Rashid, with the support of Provost Carol J. Erting and the Office of Research Support and International Affairs, Gallaudet has been proud to host a group of leaders from Wesley University and NNAD on the Gallaudet campus from October 31 to November 7, 2018 to establish the cooperative agreement, as well as for the Nigerian leaders to find out more about Gallaudet learning environment and methods, and branches of academic disciplines that will lead Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard-of-Hearing Nigerians to employment.
The agreement will facilitate a national network of knowledge and community of practice in Nigeria to promote international academic cooperation and the strengthening of educational and career opportunities for all Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard-of-Hearing Nigerian citizens. It was inspired by longstanding relationship between Nigerians and Gallaudet University, which began in 1960 when Andrew Foster, Gallaudet first African American alumnus and the founder of 32 schools for deaf students in 13 African nations, established Nigeria‘s first deaf school, the Ibadan Mission School for deaf, and shortly after, schools in the cities of Enugu and Kaduna. This connection between Gallaudet and Nigeria was further strengthened when the Dr. Isaac Olubunmi Agboola, a graduate of the Ibadan Mission School, furthered his education by earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Gallaudet. He became a renowned educator, and at his time of his passing in 2017, was the Dean of Gallaudet’s SEBHS. The new MOU embraces the spirit of Dr. Agboola, and his desire to spread education to Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard-of-Hearing people around the world.
Seeds for the MOU were planted during a march 2017 visit to Nigeria by Gallaudet President Cordano, hosted by Sir Demola Aladekomo, Board of Trustees Chair for Wesley University and cousin of Dr. Agboola, and planning intensified over the next 18 months, coming to fruition with the November 5, 2018 signing of the agreement by Prof.Sunday Ndubueze Ukachukwu, Vice Chancellor of Wesley University, Cordano,and Dagbo Suleiman Saka, President of NNAD.
At Gallaudet, the collaboration is connected to various current initiatives at the University, such as “internationalization” strategic planning that will lead to global engagement benefiting world citizens and enriching the University, Wesley University and NNAD are committed to jointly fostering fully accessible highly valuable higher education for Deaf,DeafBlind,and Hard-of-Hearing people in Nigeria. Highlights of the agreement include curricula development and adaptation, and bilingual teaching methods for Wesley University, accessible learning environments and identification and language acquisition, and non-degree educational opportunities.
NNAD is a representative body of deaf people across Nigeria that is committed to a society free from discrimination against deaf people through advocacy, empowerment, and education. The NNAD leads the country’s efforts to involve deaf people in all planning and programming matter affecting the deaf community, recognized sign language as the linguistic identity of the deaf community towards contributing to national development.
Wesley University is a private university, funded by the Methodist Church of Nigeria and is committed to being a center of excellence in knowledge creation. The university offers a balanced education for self-reliance and self-actualization through the development of entrepreneurial skills, and produce graduates with training to make them self reliant and responsible citizens who are perceptive of the needs of society.
Gallaudet University, a federally chartered private university, is the premier institution of learning, teaching, and research for Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard-of-Hearing students who learn bilingually in American sign language nd English. Gallaudet is rich multicultural and multilingual community, with students from across the United States and more than 25 countries, diverse in perspective, backgrounds interests, and communication styles, who from an exciting learning community as they prepare for dynamic careers and a lifetime of growth.