The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday handed over essential assistive devices and basic screening materials worth 100,000 U.S. dollars to the Ghanaian government for use in assessment centres across the country.
The equipment, which includes child-sized wheelchairs, crutches, complete spectacles, hearing aids, Snellen charts and tossing rings, will provide the much needed support for selected communities, especially pupils and students with special educational needs.
“Thousands of children with mild to moderate disabilities in Ghana now have greater access to mainstream schools, thanks to a recently established Inclusive Education (IE) policy,” UNICEF Ghana said in a release. UNICEF, with funding support from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is working with the Ghanaian government through the Ghana Education Service (GES) to support 20 districts in the implementation of inclusive education.
Despite the commitment made by Ghana in its inclusive education policy, children with disabilities are still at risk of stigma, misunderstanding, and discrimination, particularly within their local communities. Such discrimination hinders a child’s chance to receive quality education. UNICEF said it would continue to support the Ghanaian government through the education authorities, and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to create awareness of the IE Policy and its implementation at both national and sub-national levels.
The UNICEF Representative in Ghana, Susan Namondo Ngongi, said children with disabilities would never be able to achieve their full potential unless they were given a fair chance to learn like any other child. “While Ghana’s Inclusive Education policy plays an essential role, we need greater collaboration with family members, communities, Development Partners, Civil Society, and all stakeholders to allow every child a chance to thrive.
The UNICEF and USAID partnership is a demonstration of what can be achieved when we work together,” she said. The USAID Ghana Mission Director, Andy Karas, said: “I have seen first-hand the power of these efforts to not only open up opportunities for children with special needs, but to also help all children to receive a better education.” Enditem