Participants at a community forum at Wamahinso, a mining and farming community in the Asutifi North District of the Ahafo region have criticized GETFund, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) for their intransigent posture towards the provision of not disability-friendly public infrastructure across Ghana.
“Look, they are blatantly violating the law by still building classroom blocks, health facilities and other public places that are not disability friendly and with no sanitation facilities,” the forum said.
According to them, although it is mandatory under the Persons with Disability (PWDs) Act, 2006 (Act 715) for all public buildings to be fixed with disability-friendly facilities to make them accessible to PWDs, government through its agencies appears indifferent.
The participants were particularly concerned over GETFund’s basic school building designs which are not disability friendly, lacked sanitation facilities and having only single doors.
They have subsequently called on government to ensure henceforth all school buildings, health facilities and other public infrastructure provided by MMDAs, GETFund and any other government agencies are disability friendly.
The community forum which was organised by the Brong Ahafo Chapter of the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) as part of activities to commemorate this year’s Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) identified major bottlenecks of inclusive pre-tertiary education in the Asutifi North district.
They include, illegal mining activities, lack of learning and teaching materials, no in-service training for teachers on inclusive education, lack of knowledge of key stakeholders and citizens on inclusive education policy, the refusal of some parents to send their children with disabilities to school as well as teenage pregnancy.
In an address, the Brong Ahafo regional Chairman of Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC), Kobina Afena-Sam, said despite increasing global attention towards inclusive education, children living with disabilities are still left behind.
According to him, building an inclusive education system is the only way to respond effectively to the current learning crisis and to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all children and leaners in Ghana by 2030.
For his part, the Brong Ahafo regional Coordinator of GNECC, Raphael Godlove Ahenu, bemoaned the numerous challenges bedeviling education in Ghana.
The challenges, he stated include inadequate infrastructure, lack of learning and teaching materials and poor working condition of teachers especially in pre-tertiary institutions.
The forum, he noted was to demand increased financing towards implementation of education policies with special focus on the Inclusive Education policy.
“This forum is also to solicit for support to advance the right to quality education for children with disabilities and girls,” Mr. Ahenu further stated.
In his presentation on Inclusive Education Policy, the Executive Director of Hope Alive 360 Foundation, Amos Baffour, called for increased public awareness on the policy as well as its minimum standards and guidelines.
He mentioned lack of advanced training courses for teachers, inappropriate inclusive school buildings, and negative attitudes towards children with disabilities as some of the setbacks on inclusive education in the country and needs and urgent attention from government.
Global Action Week for Education is one of the major focal points for the education movement. Created and led by the Global Campaign for Education, it provides everyone campaigning for the right to education with an opportunity to make targeted efforts to achieve change on the ground.