The Need To Make Education More Accessible To ‘Children With Special Needs’

Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye-Lithur, has opined the need to give serious attention to educating children with special needs.

She believes the rights of children with disabilities to access quality education needs to be recognized, as the current trend demonstrates that children with disabilities are still being neglected and excluded from accessing and benefiting from education.

She revealed this during a press conference in Accra in celebration of Day of the African Child in Accra.

She states that education of children with special needs is a recommended approach to facilitate the learning of individuals who, for a wide variety of reasons, require additional support and adaptive pedagogical methods in order to participate and meet learning objectives in an educational programme. She says the right to education should enable children to acquire the skill that develop their talents, interest and knowledge which will prepare them for their future career objectives hence the need to be child-centered and constantly monitor standards in child education.

As the African Union celebrates Early Childhood Education as one of its focal areas, Honorable Oye-Litur believes the only medium to amend the current situation in order to obtain benefit is to ensure every child including the disabled get access to a child-friendly, quality, free and compulsory education, Early Childhood Care and Development must be prioritized nationally.

According to her the number of Kindergarten schools in the country has progressively increased, recording an increase from 18,915 to 19, 277 in the 2012/13 academic year since 2004 when government of Ghana presented a White Paper on Education reform to span the education sector. Nonetheless, she noted that the quality of education is below expectation as most schools do not have conducive environment for learning with poor sanitation facilities, lacks trained teachers and have short supply of school books.

She revealed that this year’s celebration of the will be climaxed in Wa on 24th of June, 2014 with a School’s Debate on the theme, “A child friendly, quality free and compulsory education for all in Africa: Reality or Rhetoric”. The exercise will afford children to debate the issue and present a communiqué to Government on matters affecting them.

On behalf of the United Nations however, Resident Coordinator Susan Namondo Ngongi has confirmed it commitment to support effort of the Ghanaian government to make quality education a reality for all children. She states that UNICEF is currently supporting in areas of Inclusive and Complementary Basic Education, an initiative which is expected to bring children who are currently out of school – either due to disability or other reasons – into the mainstream education system.

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