Cape Coast School for the Deaf cries for help

One significant thing that struck me when I entered the administration block of the Cape Coast School for the Deaf and Blind, as part of my “familiarisation tour”, was the inscription “Blind eyes are not blind minds.”

The truth and appropriateness of this writing manifested  when I toured some of the school’s facilities and interacted with the pupils and staff for over two hours. The conclusion I drew after the interaction was that these children have the potential to reach every stage of the sector of the economy if they are supported.

The institution’s motto: “Disability not inability” is as apt as the former, as every minute of the discourse with the rather curious and intelligent pupils has revealed.

Situated  along the Accra-Takoradi highway, the Cape Coast School for the Deaf was established on November 9, 1970 to provide formal education to the hearing impaired children of school age, particularly those in Cape coast and its environs and also those from other parts of the country.

The unit for the blind was also established in September 2001, to rehabilitate and educate the blind students in the rudiments of Braille reading, writing orientation mobility, among other things, to be integrated into mainstream school.

The Ghana Education Service (GES) recently nominated the institution to start the post-JSS vocational training programme.  This programme, meant to give the students vocational training in carpentry, agriculture, textile, catering, dressmaking/ tailoring and ICT to give them self-employment or fit into other sectors of the economy, commenced in September.

The school currently has a student population of 443 and a staff strength of 81.

However, current developments on the ground are pointing to the non-realisation of the dreams of the forebearers whose intents and purposes were to offer training to these students to become relevant in society and contribute to the nation’s socio-economic development. Challenges

Unfortunately, all  the units established to offer skilled training have been dodged with serious problems, making teaching  and learning extremely difficult. Agriculture

The institution in the past produced vegetables, crops and poultry to support itself and also supplied the market. It also won the National Best Award in Agriculture in Basic School in 2006 and 2012 but currently cannot boast one animal or crop due to financial constraints. Carpentary

This unit is also reeling in difficulty as two of the three industrial machines donated to the school broke down a few weeks ago while supply of wood and tools has not been regular. Transport

The only Mitsubishi Truck  which was left after the “bone-shaker” truck  broke down about five years ago also gave way last year throwing smooth administration work out of gear. Road

The untarred roads on the compound are very bad, particularly when it rains and also pose danger to students, especially the visually impaired. Cultural troupe

The institution has an enviable international cultural troupe that toured most part of the world to perform. But this group has been dormant over the past three years due to lack of sponsorship. The group is on record to have been the only troupe allowed to perform during the visit of President Bill Clinton. Use of wood and charcoal

The beautiful ambience that characterised the school may be lost due to deforestation as the kitchen staff resort to cutting of trees as a source of energy to provide food for the students daily. The school’s gas plant broke down more than a decade ago but no solution has yet been found. Appeals

The Principal of the school, Mr Setumte Ametewee, who expressed concern about the deteriorating state of the institution, therefore, appealed to individuals and organisations to come to the aid of the school.

He said “for these children the special approach has been the predominant structure of programmes designed to improve educational outcome for students who are hearing impaired, visually impaired and have learning  challenges”.

He, therefore, appealed  to all stakeholders, non-governmental organisations and  public-spirited Ghanaians to come to the aid of students, adding that “disability is no fault of theirs”.

“When people with disability feel neglected and excluded from the growing wealth and opportunities, it leads to frustration and anger and this can plunge them into a lot of unwanted lifestyles,” he stressed.

Mr Ametewee was, however, of strong optimism that the problems of the school would be confronted head-on and  vowed to galvanise all resources, human or otherwise, to  “mend the broken bridges”. Items

Thermofone, Perkine’s Braille Machine, Combo binder, Packets of Binding spiral and Cubarithin Board.

Others are Packets of Pegs, Packets of Braillon, sheets, writing slates (frames), packet of braillon sheets, stylus, talking calculator, talking book (tape recorder and white canes for orientation).

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