Techiman (BE/R) March 26, GNA - Many organisations including; the United Nations Initiative for Children’s Educational Fund (UNICEF) Ghana have observed that Ghana has made some gains in the educational sector.
Available studies show that educational systems in the country had not been able to provide the needed educational environment for children at all levels especially girls and children with disability.
It also revealed that a large number of children are out of school especially in the case of children with disability who 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 disability was no longer an issue of charity in Ghana, but 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.
Presently, efforts and programmes geared towards serving the needs of children with disability have proved to be futile. This seems to suggest that the education of children with disability lacks the needed attention that it deserves in the country.
Concerns of most children with disability 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 disability.
It is also revealed that most of the discrimination was based on stereotypes about the physical and mental impairments.
The Ghana News Agency (GNA) in its quest to revisit the right of the disabled child to be in school revealed that about 20 disabled children in each of the four Municipalities and seven Districts in the region represents about 75 percent of children with disability who are not in school in the Bono East Region.
A visit by the GNA to the Nkoranza Shalom Special School for children with various forms of disability indicated that the children there are denied of their educational rights as stated in the constitution, as they do not have access to quality education as compared to other school going 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 facing.
Mr Owusu said the school with the challenges marginalized and discouraged the children to stay in school.
This culminated into societal exclusion, bullying, aggression and devaluation of the capabilities of children with disability, which affected children with disability in all aspects of their lives.
Furthermore, marginalization included; superstition, ignorance, lack of knowledge and empathy, outmoded cultural systems which influence the exclusion of people with disability in the society.
Thus, the issue of the marginalization of children with disability is based on unscientific judgments by society.
She concluded that marginalization leads to discrimination, which has the tendency to ruin the happiness and success of children with disability in society.
Aside discrimination and marginalization, it is observed that in Ghana, policy on inclusive education and the general education of children with disability had been influenced by a number of international laws, treaties, policies, and conventions.
Moreover, Ghana has been a signatory and ratified many of the documents related to disability, which had their main focus to raise the living conditions of persons with disability by promoting their rights to various services necessary to ensure full and equal citizenship.
However, Ghana still lacked 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 government and non-governmental organizations strictly enacted a specific policy that would articulate a law ensuring children with disability to enjoy the educational rights as others.