By Kesah Princely, in Buea
A prominent University don with visual impairment has joined thousands of his peers to decry government’s neglect to employ degree holders with sight challenges in the Cameroonian public service.
Talking recently in an exclusive interview with TWIF NEWS, Dr. Nyugap Charly, a lecturer in the University of Buea, frowned at the fact that visually impaired persons with various academic qualifications are disregarded and discriminated in the job market.
The university don unequivocally intimated that most of those who deny this category of people their fundamental right to employment often do not even have better credentials than them.
The academic is worried why government encourages the education of Persons with Disabilities generally, but does very little to get them employed upon completion of studies.
In December 2021, the ‘Movement of Angry Blind And Visually Impaired’, petitioned the government on the subject, stressing that, if the situation of thousands of its unemployed members is not looked into, a national protest would be organized to express their discontentment.
Top among other concerns that were raised is the nonemployment of visually impaired persons certified and competent to fit in different job sectors in the country.
Cameroon’s Prime Minister, Chief Doctor Joseph Dion Ngute, in response to the worries, mandated the Ministry of Social Affairs to hold talks with leaders of the Movement and look into their grievances on or before March 2022.
About 90 days after meeting with leaders of the Movement of Angry Blind and Visually Impaired, the concerns raised are yet to be addressed.
Society’s negative perception about this category of people has reached crescendo, prompting Dr. Charly Nyugap to speak out before the situation soon gets out of hand.
The scholar regrets that, Cameroonians misconstrue disability for incompetence.
One of the reasons that account for the nonemployment of certificate holders with visual impairment, according to the lecturer of Spacial Education lies on what he terms ‘the psychology of disability’.
“There is a general low regards for Persons with Disabilities beginning at the level of the family which is the basic unit of every society,” he revealed, adding that, as such, they are excluded from decision making processes.
Another argument raised by the intellectual is that society often considers persons with visual impairment as ‘objects of charity’.
“We [Persons with visual impairment] have been devalued and viewed as the last grade of people who are only at the receiving end, and as such, have nothing to offer,” he sorrowfully said.
What Society Thinks Of The Few Persons with Disabilities Who Are Employed
Very painful is the fact that, despite being a lecturer with high qualifications and of high repute, some people think Dr. Nyugap was recruited on basis of sympathy and not meritocracy.
“This is the very impression that most Cameroonian employers in both public and private sectors have of us. We are blind but have skills and even better credentials than the so-called ‘normal people,”’ the academic said.
Dr. Nyugap happens to be among the very few with qualifications who have been employed.
He has been struggling in his teaching career to change society’s impression about persons with disabilities and particularly those with visual impairment who are thought of having nothing to offer.
The last factor which the academic Doctor says contributes to the discrimination of people with visual impairment in Cameroon is corruption.
He intimated that most people in government offices are greedy and hardly release resources meant for Persons with Disabilities to them.
Dr. Charly Nyugap called on persons with visual impairment to unite and collectively fight for the interest of all, stressing that together, “we have a stronger voice”.
Meantime, it is believed that the government of Cameroon which recently ratified the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will act swiftly in appropriately granting the demands of certificate holders with visual impairment.
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