President makes case for PWDs on inclusive education

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday joined stakeholders from Ghana and Norway to make a case for the world to invest more in inclusive education to reduce inequalities among Persons with Disability (PWDs).

At the second Global Disability Summit co-hosted by the two countries, the speakers said it was critical that the PWDs were not left behind especially, when it comes to education due to the importance of the sector.

The two-day hybrid summit, hosted virtually from Norway was being organised by the International Disability Alliance (IDA) in collaboration with the governments of the two countries.

It was under the theme; “Investing in Inclusive Education to Reduce Social Inequalities,” and it aimed to emphasise the importance of inclusive education for people with disabilities and encourage all actors to renew and operationalise their commitments for inclusive education.

It also intended to collaborate and make sure that learning for persons with disabilities was fully included in all national and international development efforts.

Opening of the event virtually, the President Akufo-Addo said PWDs should be given opportunities to participate, contribute and benefit from developed-built interventions.

“It makes more ethical and economic sense to do so. As we strive to achieve the important Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the mantra of living no one behind, we have the obligation to reach those furthest behind first, their needs must be prioritised and targeted,” he said.

According to the President,they should also be given the opportunity to engage actively in the process of defining and finding solutions to their needs.

 Various governments, he said, had an obligation to commit to building an inclusive society in which every citizen had the opportunity to develop his or her God-given talent to the fullest.

“The circumstances of one’s birth cannot and must not be a barrier to any citizen’s participation in-and their benefit from-the process of national development,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo, therefore, called on respective governments and other stakeholders that had submitted their commitments to the summit and those yet to do so to tackle disability exclusion with the sense of urgency.                     

The Norwegian Prime Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, on his part, said the plight of more than a billion people represented nearly 15 per cent of the world’s population, living with some form of disability had been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said with less than eight years to achieve the SDGs, governments should ensure that PWDs were able to take part in social and economic development on an equal footing with society at large.

The UN Secretary-General, AntónioGuterres, called for global financial reformed system that would be allowed to invest in disability inclusion to create accessible environments and opportunities everywhere.

“Everyone, everywhere must be free to go to school, to access health care, to start a family, have decent work and participate fully in all spheres of economic, social, cultural, and political life,” he said.

Mr Guterres said this could be done by working together across governments, international organisations, civil society, and the private sector to effectively implement the Convention on the Rights of PWDs and deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for PWDs.

The President of Ghana Federation of Disability, Ms MawunyoYakor-Dagbah called for the signing and ratification of the African Disability Rights Protocol that addresses the rights of PWDs by all member states and operationalise it.

BY VIVIAN ARTHUR

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