Stakeholders in the various Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs) on Wednesday discussed Ghana’s inclusive education policy calling on district assemblies to mainstream inclusion in their budget
Mrs Florence Ayisi Quartey, Acting Director of the Department of Children, under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection said the various district assemblies need to include in their budget line monies that will be used to achieve inclusive education within the schools in their district assemblies
Some Participants made observations that suggested that the inclusive education policy was mainly donor driven without much commitment from the government and pointed out the need for government to own Ghana’s Inclusive education policy.
The discussions were held as part of the celebration of the 2018 National Children’s Day on the theme: “Leave no child behind for Ghana’s development: The rights of children with disabilities.”
Mrs Quartey also said in response to a comment to ensure inclusion at the crèche level, that the department of children will look into the guidelines for setting up of early childhood development centres to ensure inclusion at that level.
Dr Obeng Asamoah, Executive Director of the Ghana Blind Union, speaking on the Implications of the Inclusive Education Policy on Children with Disabilities said Inclusive education helps children with disabilities to have better aspirations in life.
“If you put all children with one disability together, their level of thinking and their self-esteem is affected, having children with disabilities and those without disabilities together tend to help children with disabilities to aspire to greater heights as their counterparts.”
Dr Asamoah said the implementation of the inclusive education policy in Ghana will also provide an opportunity for children with special needs to be educated in their own communities; they don’t have to travel to a special school somewhere.
Mrs Gifty Twum-Ampofo, Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection said there is the dire need for intervention that guarantee the survival, protection and development of children with disabilities.
She said as a country the rights of children with disabilities to access quality education are recognized, however, the situation on the ground shows that children with disabilities remain the most excluded from accessing education and its benefits.
“It is rather unfortunate that in most countries including Ghana, education for children with disabilities have created separate schools called “Special Schools” that provides for a small number of children…this does not help the children to integrate fully in society…”
Mrs Twum-Ampofo advised that people should shift in the way they treat disabilities, saying, “Instead of disability being viewed as a shortcoming on the part of the individual, the focus has now moved to the environment and society as well as the lack of consideration for human differences.”
Madam Amina Achiaa, Director of the Special Education Division of the Ghana Education Service took participants through the Inclusive Education Policy, pledging the GES commitment towards inclusive education in Ghana