Call for inclusive education for children with disabilities

1 February 2023

Plan International Ghana, partners and stakeholders have met to urge the government to provide inclusive education for children with disabilities.

The event was an advocacy project involving Plan International Ghana’s partner organisation Necessary Aid Alliance. Necessary Aid Alliance has carried out research into the state of inclusive education in the Upper West Region that shows students with disabilities still face many challenges in accessing a quality education.

Plan International Ghana is working alongside Necessary Aid Alliance to support children with disabilities to get an inclusive education. Our programme involves working with children, their parents and teachers to reduce the barriers they face to getting an education.

Lack of equal opportunities

The Executive Director for Necessary Aid Alliance, Mr. Mulumba Ngmenlabagna Songsore said that existing special and mainstream schools had lots of challenges and did not give equal opportunities to children with disabilities.

“Some mainstream schools of higher learning have refused to admit students with disabilities because they do not have the facilities and expertise to support them,” he said. “The few who get admitted are presented with myriad of challenges including access and usage of educational facilities.”

Mr. Songsore said that although Ghana, like other African countries, had signed up to several international commitments, not much consideration had been given to children with disabilities.

“Ghana expanded its inclusive education programme from 29 districts to 46 in all 16 regions and also trained teachers to enable them to work with children with disabilities. However, many children are either not in school or have dropped out because of the unequal distribution of resources, and the few in school are unable to learn appropriately,” he said.

The few who get admitted (to school) are presented with myriad of challenges.

He also said that the reasons for a lack of inclusive education for children with disabilities include:

  • Inadequately trained teachers lacking the ability to meet the needs of children with disabilities and the discrimination they face, as well as large class sizes
  • Inadequate learning materials such as braille and recorders
  • Limited access to mainstream schools of higher learning in the region.

Mr. Songsore appealed to the government to move quickly to implement policies that support children with disabilities to get an inclusive education so they can follow their ambitions.

The President of the Upper West Queen mother’s association who was a guest at the event called for increased budgets at local and national governments to meet the needs of children with disabilities.

A visually impaired student lamented the lack of appropriate learning materials and said without braille, they were unable to unable to make the most of lessons.

Support for children with disabilities

The event resulted in several actions and commitments from stakeholders, including:

  • Donations of books, sanitary pads and soap
  • The Municipal Assembly made a commitment to tackle the challenges facing children with disabilities in regular schools
  • Improved physical access to schools
  • Donations of braille machines.

Education, Children with disabilities, Out-of-school children