BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
National policy on Education (1997) defines special education as education of children and adults who have learning difficulty because of different sorts of handicaps such as blindness, partial sightedness, deafness, hardness of hearing, mental retardation, social maladjustments, physical handicap due to circumstances of birth, inheritance, social position, mental and physical health pattern or accident in later life.
As a result, few children and adults are unable to cope with the normal school class organization and methods. There are also the specially gied children who are intellectually precocious and find themselves insuiciently challenged by the programme of the normal school and who may take to stubbornness and apathy, in resistance to it.
Adima (1989) in line with Abosi highlighted some of the curriculum content of the traditional form of special education some of these include lesson in art of fortune telling, cracking palm – nuts, art cra, preparation and raia – palm for roofing houses, farming and many other practical skills for economic independence. There were training facilities forms where teachers which included parents, close relations and other members of the community were drawn to teach handicapped follows not as separate people, but as fully integrated part of the community. By so doing, they reap the enviable advantages of mainstreaming as a system for educating the handicapped. The purpose of the traditional form of education enunciated by fafunwa (1982) also applied to the education of the handicapped functionalism was the guiding principle and people learnt by doing and observation. There was emphasis on social responsibility, job orientation, honesty, political participation, spiritual and moral valises. Nwangwu (1982) pointed to the united Nation Universal Declaration of human right in 1948, which made some assertions about the right of every human being.
The article one of the Declaration stated that all people are born free and equal in dignity and right. Article 26 of the Declaration stated that every one has the right to education which shall be free and compulsory at least at the primary school level. It is importance to note that this declaration was the fulcrum of all agitations for the right of all disabled as human beings. In Nigeria, the “good Samaritan” acts of the voluntary agencies later touched the heart and conscience of the government. This might also have been reinforced by the United Nations Declaration of 1975. It was in 1975 that Rtd General Yakubu Gowon declared the interest of the government in the conditions of the handicapped. Following this closely was the National Policy on Education, 1977, which devoted a section to the education of the handicapped. The declaration of 1981 as the inter-national year of the disabled showed the height to which they are favoured in recent years. It is said that in a democratic world, every men could be a king, hence in planning and implementing programmes for the disabled, one sees the ultimate in democratic thinking and action (Barke 1960). It is significant to note that those position attitudes may not mean a problem free society for the disabled, but they are good signs for our generations. Government has already directed that all children, including the gied as well as those with physical, mental and learning diiculties, must be provided for under the educational system.