GNECC calls for effective implementation of inclusive education policy

By Iddi
Yire, GNA
    

Accra, Sept 14, GNA – The Ghana National
Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) has called on government to increase
funding for Inclusive Education to at least two per cent of the education
budget to ensure its effective implementation.

Inclusive Education is an approach or a
process which occurs when children with and without disabilities, and of
diverse backgrounds and abilities learn together in the same classroom,
interact socially with each other within the regular school setting for the whole
day.

Mr Bright Appiah, Executive Council Chair,
GNECC, said in pursuing the Sustainable Development Goal four, which seeks to
ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all, there was the need to
advocate for the effective implementation of the Inclusive Education policy to
provide education for all children, including those with disabilities.

He said with regards to the implementation of
the education policy, it was sad to note that very little was happening,
considering what is required to fully implement Inclusive Education in Ghana.

Mr Appiah made this known in a speech read on
his behalf at the Second National Stakeholders forum on inclusive education,
organised by the GNECC, with support from STAR-Ghana, under the Gender and Social
Inclusion (GESI) Strategic Partnership Grant.

The forum was held under the theme: “The
Implementation of Ghana’s Inclusive Education Policy: What is the progress so
far”.

As part of efforts to address challenges
facing children with disabilities, the SPED of GES initiated the development of
the Inclusive Education Policy and Minimum Standards and Guidelines.

The policy, Minimum Standards and Guidelines
and the implementation plan were completed, duly launched and adopted by the
Ministry of Education in May 2016, however the scope of implementation is still
low and limited to few districts.

It is on this basis that GNECC is implementing
the project dubbed: “Advancing the Right to Education for Children with
Disability in Ghana’ with funding support from STAR-Ghana, under the Gender and
Social Inclusion (GESI) Strategic Partnership Grant.

Mr Appiah also underscored the need for duty
bearers at national, regional, district and school levels to comply fully with
the Inclusive Education policy, minimum standards and guidelines.

He said working at changing attitudes and
behaviours, which reinforce stigma towards vulnerable children, especially
children with disabilities; and strengthening of the capacity of citizens to
hold duty bearers accountable for the effective implementation of the IE
policy, were key factors.

Professor Samuel Hayford, Dean of Education,
University of Education, Winneba, said research had shown that special-needs
students educated in regular classes do better academically and socially than
comparable students in non-inclusive setting.

He noted that as a country, if we were able to
implement the inclusive education policy very well; Ghana would be crowned the
first country on the globe to be a law-abiding nation because we do not trample
on the rights of anybody.

“If inclusive education is about human rights
and we are saying it is not about those with disabilities but is it about
anyone who has the tendency of either being a drop-out or not having access to
school; and if we are able to remove all these impediments then it means we are
satisfying the rights of many individuals,” he added.

Madam Amina Achiaa, Director, Special
Education Division (SPED) of the Ghana Education Service (GES), noted that,
with regards to the Inclusive Education policy, 18,310 children with
disabilities had been enrolled in the regular schools.

She said the establishment of the Regional
Assessment Centres focused on an objective where, every child irrespective of
their condition needed to be screened and accessed to know their health status
first before they were given placement.

Madam Achiaa said among the challenges were
inadequate infrastructure to conveniently accommodate all children,
inaccessible school facilities, negative attitude of society towards children
with special educational needs including those with disabilities; and funding.

She called for continuous sensitisation of
stakeholders and communities on the need to change their attitude towards
issues of children with special educational needs; and as well review all
instructional materials and assistive devices for teaching and implementation
of Inclusive Education in schools to promote sustainability.

GNA

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