The Ghana Blind Union has declared its resolve to go all lengths to ensure that the head teacher of the Moree Senior High School in the Central Region is sanctioned for discriminating against a visually impaired tutor who was posted to the school as an English teacher.
Thirty six year old John Sebastian Jaani had a lifetime humiliating experience when he reported at the Moree Senior High School after being posted there by the Ghana Education Service. The teacher, until his posting was teaching at the West Africa Junior High School in Accra where he had worked for ten years before pursuing his Bachelor’s in Education at the Cape Coast University.
On seeing the tutor for the first time in the school, the head teacher allegedly launched a scathing attack on him, questioning his competence to teach as a blind man who only read brail and couldn’t even write on boards nor read the hand writing of his students. The head teacher would neither accept his posting nor allow him to express his capabilities.
The Ghana Blind Union has taken strong exception to the attitude of the head teacher and described it as “most unfortunate especially when it is coming from someone deemed to be an educationist.”
Making their stands known to Kumasi-based Ultimate Radio, its President, Dr Obeng Asamoah stated “we have laws in this country; we have our 1992 constitution which talks about discrimination, we have the Disability Act – Act 715 – which talks about discrimination. Even the Labor Act talks about discrimination so we have laws in this country and we will pursue everything to its legal conclusion” he noted.
John Sebastian Jaani is now left without any support for accommodation in a town he is virtually alien to.
Narrating his predicament to Kofi Owusu on the Ultimate Morning Show, Mr. Jaani lamented he had not even had a decent place to change his clothes since he reported to the school on Tuesday.
He divulged that “for the past three days all my bags are in the staff room, I am still in the same uniform that I brought here. I stay around the school and when it is about 5: 30, I go to hang somewhere and come to school in the morning. I don’t have any place to lodge and nobody is ready to help me.”
According to the Ghana’s Disability Act, section (12) which is captioned posting, transfer and redeployment of person with disability, sub section (1) states “An employer shall not post or transfer a person with disability to a section or place of the establishment not suited for the person.
In this case, all efforts by John Sebastian Jaani to get his posting transferred to the Greater Accra Region where he lives have proven futile. He said with desperation that he had been traversing education offices from district to the national headquarters and the only response was that everywhere was choked with no help for him.
“In Accra, I have gone to the headquarters and complained that because of my sight problem, I should just be posted to Accra where I have my relatives. When I was in the West Africa High School, I could just dress up and go to school and come back to my people. I could call for anyone to meet me at any station to help me around but now I am here to live lonely on my own. But they say there is no way they could consider anybody “he recounted with frustration.
A Social worker and Lecturer at the KNUST, Dr. George Mainoo blames the unfortunate incident on a failed system that hardly recognizes and caters for the disabled in society.
“I look at it as some kind of systemic issue and as nations grow, some of these issues crop up. Regardless of the fact, we also see regional organizational and interpersonal issues coming in. There is clearly an error there. It is a national issue and we are supposed to understand the peculiar situation of certain types of people in the country and that should inform the patterns of posting in the country,” he explained.
He indicated that there exist several administrative lapses in the country that does not factor in the special cases of distinct people in society. He made the strong case for people right from policy makers at the national level and managers of organizations to persons in society to be educated and sensitized on issues of social inclusion and integration.
Meanwhile the Education Ministry says it is unaware of the incident. Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Basic Education Alex Kyeremeh told Ultimate Radio; the Ministry will do what it can to get to the bottom of the matter.