NGO advocates education system that embraces persons with intellectual disabilities

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Social Stakeholders Meeting
Social Stakeholders Meeting

Inclusion Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation, is advocating equal opportunities for and inclusion of persons with intellectual disabilities in Ghana’s educational system.

It has, therefore, called for the elimination of factors denying such people access to education.
It wants stakeholders to work together to protect the inalienable rights of children with such conditions to education to collectively build an inclusive society.

Mr Kofi Tibuahson, the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Coordinator of Inclusion Ghana, said progress had been made through advocacy, but more could be done to address the exclusion of persons with intellectual disabilities from the education system.

He was speaking at a stakeholder’s evaluation meeting to assess a three-year project implemented in the Bekwai Municipality as part of an exit exercise in all beneficiary districts.

The project, dubbed: “Promoting Inclusion in Ghana from District to National,” was implemented in six main districts and six other adjoining districts to raise awareness about the rights of persons with intellectual disabilities.

With funding from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) through the Danish Disability Fund, Parents Self-Help Groups (PSHGs) were formed at zonal and district levels.

The PSHGs, Mr. Tibuahson said, were empowered to mobilise resources to support their livelihoods to be able to take care of children with intellectual disabilities who were their dependants.

Other stakeholders such as heads of schools, teachers, assembly members, as well as duty bearers in the Local Government and Education Directorate, were also engaged as part of the project implementation.
The goal was to push for the inclusion of persons with intellectual disabilities in all forms of social services, especially education.

Most of such children in the project districts, Mr Tibuahson noted, were developing the confidence and interest to participate in school and community activities, adding that parents who used to hide their children were also departing from those acts.

Madam Aba Oppong, the Executive Director of Rights and Responsibilities Initiatives Ghana, local partners of Inclusion Ghana, said the Sustainable Development Goal- Four ensured inclusive and equitable quality education and promoted lifelong learning opportunities for all.

She called on key duty bearers in health, education, and social protection to ensure all the policy requirements regarding those social services for persons with autism, cerebral palsy, and down syndrome were well taken care of.
“They should be allowed into schools if their assessments require that they go to school, otherwise their parents and guardians should be supported to take care of them,” she added.

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