Inclusive Education in Ghana

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CCBRT Moshi: Side stories from the field_Grace

Globally, about 93 million children live with a moderate or severe disability. In most low- and middle-income countries, children with disabilities are more likely to be out of school than other group of children. According to Human Rights Watch, there are over 5 million PWD (people living with disabilities) in Ghana. PWDs experience various challenges such as discrimination, verbal abuse, social exclusion, lack of access to health care and education.

In 2013, the Ghana Ministry of Education in collaboration with other stakeholders announced the Inclusive Education Policy. The purpose of this policy is to create an education system that is responsive to learner diversity and ensures that all learners are able to receive the best opportunities regardless of the their disability status. Since the implementation of the policy, various international organizations like UNICEF and local organizations have supported inclusive education and are now participating in activities to support PWDs. For instance, the Special Attention Project in Ghana conducts research, advocates for educational right and provides training to support children with learning difficulties.

Although the Ghana Ministry of Health was successful in implementing the policy, it is important that they work with entities like Ghana Education Services to ensure enforcement of the policy throughout educational institutions. A common complaint from educational institutions is the lack of materials needed to support PWDs. Funds need to be allocated towards such resources to ensure that PWDs are not only able to attend school but also achieve quality education. In addition, Ghana Ministry of Education should provide resources to train professionals and educators on the necessary guidelines to practice inclusive education. A combination of adequate resources and appropriate training within the  educational institutions  will ensure that the inclusive education policy is maintained and PWDs have equal access the education across Ghana.

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4 Responses to “Inclusive Education in Ghana”

  1. jyoon Says:

    Thank you for sharing your post regarding inclusive education. As you have mentioned, many children in low- and middle-income countries suffer from disabilities and are out of school. I read on the State of the World’s Children that children with disabilities who attended primary school progressed to higher levels of education at only half the rate of children without disabilities in Tanzania (https://www.unicef.org/sowc2013/). The report indicated that children with disabilities are also 3.7 times more likely to experience violence and discrimination than peers without disabilities. Children with disabilities encounter different forms of exclusion that are hindering them from getting the same quality education or training that the peers without disabilities are receiving. As you have addressed in your blog, more materials and support is needed for PWDs, to provide life-changing opportunities, and to maximize inclusion.

  2. oyerokun Says:

    This post highlights an international educational issue. Furthermore, I think the lack of inclusive education in Ghana is a microcosm of the a human rights issue with poor availability of services for those with disabilities. I would be interested to know how the availability of inclusive education differs across cultures. Even in developed countries, there are issues with inclusive education. Across different spectrums, it appears that the issues with inclusive education are similar. You mentioned that increased funding and teacher training for improved knowledge and attitude about disabled students are key elements to improving inclusion in Ghana. A survey study done in Iran had almost the exact same conclusions. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.ezp.welch.jhmi.edu/pmc/articles/PMC5139970/.

    I think there would have to be concerted effort from more NGOs with funding to launch international work on increasing awareness of how to include students with disabilities and maintain an efficient classroom. The education will not only be for teachers but also administrators and school system leadership so that there can be collaboration at every level on how to improve.

  3. asaff Says:

    I am really excited to see this post regarding persons with disabilities in Ghana. I worked at a school for the blind as well as a school for the deaf in Ghana, and they were actually better run than some of the public schools I visited. There was often an abundance of learning supplies and staff eager to facilitate learning at the schools. However, there was definitely a lack of integration between students who had disabilities and those that do not, which could be detrimental to both sets of students. Hopefully, this policy would help integrate the two student bodies, without disrupting the positive communal effects that schools for PWD make possible. This could allow for those students with disabilities to perhaps have greater communication, cognitive, and social skills, while those students without disabilities could learn positive social interaction skills, such as learning to play with and accepting people who are different.

    Furthermore, in rural areas without schools for PWD, there was definite discrimination against people in the community with disabilities. People may claim that PWD were cursed or crazy, when really, there was a lack of education on understanding why some people have disabilities as well as a lack of services to those with disabilities. Hopefully, the Inclusive Education Policy will help improve Ghana’s overall education and social inclusion. I am excited to see what’s in store for the future.

  4. massahmassaquoi Says:

    I enjoyed reading this post, thank you so much for sharing! I agree that people living with disabilities not only need the resources to attend school, but also need the resources and support to achieve quality education. To add to that point I would also like to know what countries are doing to support people with disabilities in terms of housing and employment. It is important to achieve a quality education, but if PLWD are also not supported or receive equal opportunity for employment than the policy is not as effective as it should be. I believe this policy is a great step toward progression and equity among all children in Ghana, and moving forward it would be beneficial to improve policy’s encouraging employment, stigmatization and increase access to care.

    Prior comments also mentioned access to schools inclusive of PLWD in rural communities, and I agree that an inclusive education policy can lead to social inclusion of PLWD. In communities that do not value PLWD the way they may value those without disabilities is a cultural and societal norm that is a bit harder to deconstruct. If a rural community is neglecting PLWD, who would encourage youth living with disabilities to attend these schools even if they have access? I am glad more countries are doing more to support youth with disabilities, I also hope to also see programs develop to support them post-graduation and a change is seen in attitudes and beliefs throughout the community.

    My family and I are from Sierra Leone and during the Ebola outbreak in 2014 many people with disabilities were left on the fridges of the epidemic. An NGO called One Family People did work to educated these communities about Ebola and advised them on how they can protect themselves and their loved ones. This is just one slightly different example of how programs and initiatives to educate PLWD can protect and safe guard folks whom often feel voiceless and neglected in the face of adversity. http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/articles/2014/11/07/reaching-out-to-people-living-with-disabilities-in-sierra-leone.html

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