Participants at an international Day of Persons with Disabilities in Tamale have called on government and other stakeholders to pay attention to the living conditions of persons living with disabilities.
The participants at the forum who lauded the efforts made by successive governments towards making lives better for persons with disabilities in Ghana reiterated the need for stakeholders to re-look at the needs of the person with disabilities and act now.
The one day forum was organized by the Center for Educational Innovation and Leadership at University for Development Studies (UDS) in partnership with the CREDA, Norsaac and Oxfam Ghana.
The forum was on the theme “Leadership and Participation of Persons with Disabilities towards an Inclusive, Accessible and Sustainable Post-Covid-19 World”.
The concern was raised by the Dean of the UDS Faculty of Education, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Gunu on the occasion of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.
“I would like to use this platform to call on government and significant stakeholders to immediately adopt appropriate measures to support people with disabilities, who are at higher risk of being affected by COVID-19, to sustain and protect their education.”
Dr. Ibrahim Gunu explained that the symposium formed part of the Center‘s disability advocacy programme, which is intended to create awareness of the challenges facing persons with disabilities. According to him, the decision to adopt online teaching and learning at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic affected Persons with Disabilities.
He added that findings from a research conducted by Faculty of Education at the University indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic affected academic progress of students in Ghana, particularly for the most marginalised groups, including people with disabilities.
“It must be stated that in search of normalcy during the COVID19 pandemic regarding teaching and learning in Ghanaian schools, educational institutions were compelled to adopt online teaching and learning. The decision to conduct online teaching and learning excluded some students from academic work most especially persons with disabilities thereby denying them access to quality education as enshrined in the SDGs.
“It must be stated that National and global responses to this pandemic and planning for future crises must be fully inclusive in line with the frameworks of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the SDGs. The SDGs represent a global commitment towards making life better for citizens of various countries.”
He advised that people with disabilities should be included in decision-making, planning, implementation and monitoring of national COVID-19 responses.
Dr. Issaka Cecilia Alimatu, Vice Dean – Faculty of Education on her part, lauded the efforts of Ghanaian Governments in putting in certain measures to support the welfare of persons living with disabilities such as the 2006 disability act (act 715) and the recent reforms: the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) that aims at making provision for learner with diverse need but called for more support for persons living with disabilities.
The Center for Educational Innovation and Leadership is a center of research excellence in evidence-based policy research and reflective experimentation at the University for Development Studies aim to improve student learning in all instructional formats and at all levels of the educational system.
The Center is touted for collaborating with organisations to deliver programmes and projects and the most recent one was its collaboration with Oxfam and Norsaac to deliver the first Education Policy debate for political parties in Ghana during the 2020 general elections.