The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) will from next academic year begin Disability Studies, Rehabilitation and Development programmes at the School of Medical Sciences (SMS).
The programmes, which will be at the undergraduate and post graduate levels will commence after approval had been received from the National Accreditation Board and the university's academic board.
The introduction of the programmes had become necessary due to the approval of the Capacity Building and Community Health for the Prevention and Response to Disability Project.
The project is being financed by the Netherlands government, through the Netherlands Programme for the Institutional Strengthening of Post-Secondary Education and Training Capacity (NUFFIC).
Professor Kwasi Kwafo Adarkwa, Vice Chancellor of the University, made this known at a sod-cutting ceremony on Monday for the construction of the first phase of the KNUST Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies (CEDRES) at the KNUST campus, where the programmes will be offered.
The first phase which will comprise the construction of classroom blocks, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) centre, library, conference hall, toilet facilities and car park is expected to cost about 300,000 euros.
Professor Adarkwa said other components of the Disability Project would include staff capacity building through Ph.D and Master of Science training and staff/student exchange programmes with some reputable universities in the Netherlands and South Africa.
Other components are short courses for disabled peoples organizations as well as collaboration research in disability issues and the subsequent creation of a credible database in Ghana and the sub-region.
He said the programme, which was the first in West Africa, had strong links with the Foundation Africa Next Door, an international non-governmental organisation and the Disabled People's Organisation.
Professor Adarkwa said KNUST appreciated the challenges confronting disabled citizens in Ghana and would initiate programmes that would ensure their full integration into society.
Dr Anthony K. Edusei, Project Manager, said the Disability Project aimed at “finding ability in disability” through capacity building to help address all forms of disability be it physical, visual, speech and hearing, mental and intellectual.
He said the project sought to realize these through the establishment of advanced education capacity in disability and rehabilitation in Ghana and the creation of research and development capacity in the field of disability and rehabilitation.
Dr Edusei said this would contribute in ensuring better integration into society and creating equal opportunities for people with disabilities in Ghana.
Nana Anokye Frimpong Ababio, Paramount Chief of Asante Agona Traditional Area, said through the centre, Ghana would accept that disability was not inability and that given equal opportunities, people with disability could contribute positively to national development.