Techiman (BE/R) March 12, GNA-Many organisations including the United Nations Initiative for Children’s Educational Fund (UNICEF) Ghana (2010) has emphasized that despite the fact that Ghana has made some gains in her educational sector, available statistics provide evidence that the educational system in the country has not been able to provide the needed educational environment for children at all levels especially girls and children with disabilities.
The organization went further to say that a large number of children are out of school especially in the case of children with disabilities. These children with disabilities form a critical factor for the achievement of the EFA and the SDGs in the country.
Stakeholders are emphatic that the provision of educational services to persons with disabilities is no longer an issue of charity in Ghana. It is a constitutional right as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. However, the constitution has not lived up to its expectation because the educational sector lacks the capacity to serve the needs of children with disabilities.
At present, efforts and programs geared toward serving the needs of children with disabilities have proved to be futile. This seems to suggest that the education of children with disabilities lacks the needed attention that it deserves in the country.
Concerns of most children with disabilities in the Bono East Region and for that matter Ghana as a whole, revealed that discrimination and marginalization is a challenge to the education of children with disabilities, again it is found out that much of the discrimination is based on stereotypes about the physical, mental impairments and other forms of disabilities.
The Ghana News Agency (GNA) in its quest to revisit the right of the disable child to be in school revealed that about 20 disable children in each of the four Municipalities and seven Districts in the region represents about 75 percent of disable children who are not in school in the Bono East Region.
A visit by the GNA to the Nkoransa Shalom Special School for children with various forms of disabilities indicates that the children there are denied of their educational rights as stated in the constitution, these children do not have access to quality education as compared to able school going age children in the area.
The Headmaster of the school, Mr Frank Amoako Owusu lamented on the devastating conditions such as poor security, accommodation, feeding, furniture, water and transportation the school and its students were going through especially at this age of Covid-19.
Mr Owusu indicated that the school with these challenges marginalized and discourages the children to stay in school.
This culminates into societal exclusion, bullying, aggression and devaluation of the capabilities of children with disabilities which affects children with disabilities in all aspect of their lives.
Furthermore it is pointed out that marginalization includes superstition, ignorance, lack of knowledge and empathy, outmoded cultural systems which influence the exclusion of people with disabilities in the society.
Thus, the issue of the marginalization of children with disabilities is based on unscientific judgments by society. She concludes that marginalization leads to discrimination which has the tendency to ruin the happiness and success of children with disabilities in society.
Aside discrimination and marginalization, it is observed that in Ghana policy on inclusive education and the general education of children with disabilities has been influenced by a number of international laws, treaties, policies, and conventions.
Moreover, Ghana has been a signatory and ratified many of these documents related to disabilities which have their main focus to raise the living conditions of persons with disabilities by promoting their rights to various services necessary to ensure full and equal citizenship in the country. However, this however states that Ghana still lacks a specific policy that articulates a philosophy on disability to guide practice.
In conclusion to meet the Sustainable Development Goal four (SDGs) and Universal Compulsory Education policy of Ghana mandating all children of school-going age to be in school will be relevant if the government and nongovernmental organizations strictly enact a specific policy that would articulate a law ensuring children with disabilities enjoy the educational rights that able children are enjoying.