Schools to provide for the disabled

A policy document has been prepared to enjoin schools across the country to provide user-friendly facilities for Children With Disabilities (CWD).

An 18-member technical committee set up by the Ghana Education Service (GES), to prepare the modalities will submit the document to the Minister of Education next week for approval.

When approved, schools would be required to admit CWD and make their facilities user-friendly to help them access education in the various educational institutions in the country.

Former Deputy Director of the Special Education Division of the GES, Mr. Thomas Patrick Otaah, who disclosed this at a forum in Accra yesterday, said the policy was to ensure that CWD exercise their rights to quality education.

He said the document was founded on three thematic areas which included rights of children to learn irrespective of their challenges, the provision of user-friendly infrastructure for CWD, and the inclusion of CWD in all schools and not only in special schools.

Mr. Otaah said guidelines and standards had been provided in the document to help chart a course that would enable disabled persons to be integrated into all schools, adding that “the policy also has an evaluation and monitoring system that will enhance its implementation”.

He, therefore, urged schools, especially basic and secondary, to provide the needed facilities to enable CWD to access education in their establishments.

“CWD very often, fall out of school or may not access any education at all because of the infrastructural deficit that exists in our society. This policy seeks to address such a situation and, therefore, it is of necessity that schools provide user-friendly facilities.”

“It should start with the modification of school compounds. Rumps instead of staircases should be constructed for the crippled. Schools should also provide hearing, and visual aids for the deaf and blind to enable them stay in the classroom,” he said.

According to him, when such issues were addressed in schools they would help the CWD to compete fairly with their peers and also contribute immensely to national development.

Mr. Otaah observed that special schools for the disabled were few and, therefore, could not admit all CWD in the country, hence the need to take the implementation of the policy seriously for CWD to access education in all schools.

The head of the Gender and Disability Department at the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Abigail Amponsah Nutakor, in her presentation, allayed the fears of people with disabilities to exercise their franchise to vote in any elections in the country.

She said the law provided the legal framework for the EC to factor best alternatives for disabled persons to vote in elections.

By Charles Amankwa & Jonas Pollig      

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