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09.11.2004 Regional News

Special Schools deserves external funding - Gyang

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Ho, Nov. 9, GNA - Mr Samuel D. Gyang, Volta Regional Director of Education on Monday urged the Conference of Heads of Special Schools (COHESS) and the Special Needs Division of the Ghana Education Service to put up a strong case for external funding for the country's inclusive education policy.

The inclusive education policy, which seeks to integrate pupils with physical disabilities into the mainstream school system forms part of the country's Educational Strategic Plan (ESP) 2003-2015. Mr Gyang made the call in an address read for him at the 24th annual Conference of Heads of Special Schools at Ho under the theme: "Meeting special and diverse educational needs - Making inclusive education in Ghana a reality."

He also exhorted advocacy groups on disability to lend their support to initiatives by COHESS to lobby government "to bring about changes in line with international concepts, practices and legislation", to secure quality education for the country's disabled children. Mr Gyang said local school administrators such as School Management Committees and Parent-Teacher Associations should also be taken through re-training on the inclusive education concept.

He said it was imperative that COHESS fashioned out promotional materials, which could be used to influence policy makers to accept and plan for the mode of introducing inclusive education into schools. Mr Gyang observed that new approaches worldwide on Special Needs Education were influenced by how teachers responded to the difficulties pupils experienced in and outside the classroom. "The task of the teacher must be to find ways of managing the learning environment to take reasonable account of individual class members," he said.

Success in inclusive education programmes he said were available in Kenya Lesotho, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Palestine and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Laos for the country to benefit from. The four-day conference being attended by 22 participants will discuss the topic: "Inclusive education by 2015 and its challenges to teacher training institutions and the Education Strategic Plan. It will also evaluate and assess members' performance for 2003/2004 academic year.

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