The University of Ghana (UG) has set up an office within the Students Union premises to help identify varied needs of students with special needs and provide them with best support services.
This is to ensure that students with physical challenges had complete and equitable access to all facets of University life as could be reasonably provided, to enable them to achieve optimum academic outcomes.
Professor Kwesi Yankah, Pro-Vice Chancellor, UG, at the opening of the office on Wednesday, said the University had gone a long way as far providing needs of physically challenged students were concerned.
It had also taken various steps to ensure that it did not disadvantage any student with disability in the pursuit of academic laurels.
The office, which has a Coordinator supported by five trained resource persons would offer diverse information, support, resources, advice and expertise to sections of the University in all matters concerning the requirements, rights and responsibilities of students with special needs.
It would liaise with academic and general staff, advising them on how best to meet the needs of the students with special needs and provide braillers, readers, interpreters enlarged prints, note-takers and alternative examination arrangements among other things to facilitate teaching and learning.
Prof. Yankah said the University currently had a total of 60 students with various disabilities out of which 49 were male and 11 female.
He accepted that fact there still remained numerous challenges as far as facilities and infrastructure of the University was concerned, to make teaching, learning and normal life for students with special needs complete and urged other students to help.
The Pro-Vice Chancellor called on civil society to change their perception about people with disabilities, citing superstition and ignorance as a major factor that leds to the neglect and maltreatment of such people.
“Nobody is beyond the situation of the possibility of getting disabled. An accident or old age may leave you disabled therefore we must all make preparations,” he said.
Ms Regina Dennis, Programme Officer, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), who cut the tape to formally open the office, urged both lecturers and students to make good use of the facility.
She encouraged all persons with various forms of disabilities to be bold and proud of their achievement in life so far and persevere and endure in order to survive all unfriendly situations.
Ms Dennis also urged the various faculties of the University to have patience with students with special needs and not see them as a burden, but as an opportunity to learn new skills.
“By doing so you would be contributing to the development of Ghana and supporting the Disability Law,” she said.
Ms Dennis encouraged all who had various disabilities to see their situation as a special challenge that should push them to strive hard to achieve higher goals.
She also encouraged the students to socialize and join the various campus clubs in order to be actively recognized and also make friends who would be beneficial to their lives.
She called on the University to set aside funds for the maintenance and sustenance of the office.
Dr Kwabena Adu Poku, Coordinator of the Office, called on students with disabilities such as hearing and visual impairments, special learning difficulties, to register to be able to access the facility.