More children with disabilities get the chance to access mainstream school

Thousands of children with mild to moderate disabilities in Ghana now have greater access to mainstream schools thanks to a recently established Inclusive Education Policy.

UNICEF, with funding support from USAID, is working with the Ghanaian Government through the Ghana Education Service to support 20 districtsin the implementation of Inclusive Education.

It is encouraging to see that all children especially those with special needs now have a chance to learn in an inclusive environment,rdquo; said Susan Namondo Ngongi, UNICEF representative in Ghana.

Today’s announcement comes as UNICEF and USAID jointly hand over essential assistive devices and basic screening materials procured by UNICEF worth USD $100,000 to the Government of Ghana for use in assessment centres in all ten regions across the country. The handover takes place at the flagship assessment centre in Central Region, located within the Cape Coast School for the Deaf/Blind.

The equipment, which includes assistive devices (child-sized wheelchairs, crutches, complete spectacles, and hearing aids) and basic screening materials (including snellen charts, tossing rings, tennis balls, drums), will provide the much needed support for the community, especially pupils and students with special educational needs.

Inclusive education is a particularly strong priority for USAID,rdquo; said USAID/Ghana Mission Director Andy Karas. I have seen first-hand the power of these efforts to not only open up opportunities for children with special needs, but to help all children receive a better education.rdquo;

Despite the commitment made by the Government in its Inclusive Education policy, children with disabilities are still at risk of stigma, misunderstanding, and discrimination particularly within their local communities. Such discrimination hinders a child’s chance to receive a quality education. UNICEF will therefore continue to support the Ghanaian Government, through the Ministry of Education/Ghana Education Service,and Civil Society Organizations to create awareness of the IE Policy and its implementation at both national and sub-national levels.

Children with disabilities will never be able to achieve their full potential unless they are given a fair chance to learn like any other child. While Ghana’s Inclusive Education policy plays an essential role, we need greater collaboration with family members, communities, Development Partners, Civil Society, and all stakeholders to allow every child a chance to thrive. The UNICEF and USAID partnership is a demonstration of what can be achieved when we work together,rdquo; said Susan Namondo Ngongi, UNICEF Representative in Ghana.

Source: United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).