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Opinion | Apr 30, 2016

Whose fault is it?

I am not playing the blame game, I am not pointing fingers. My Bible tells me in Proverbs 15:22 that plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. In a country like Ghana were there are weak and strong people, not until recently I did not know there were this much intellectually disabled in the country whose rights are violated each day

Intellectual disability is a disability described by significant limitation in both intellectual functioning and adaptive behaviors which covers many everyday social and practical skills. This disability should happen before the age of 18 and occurs when the brain gets injured or a problem prevents the brain from developing normally.

My goal here is not to push blame but to ask few questions that I need answers to. How many schools or training centers do we have for these precious ones? What policies and programs are there for them and how well are we implementing these policies and programs? How well is Ghana educating its citizens on this disability, for families to accept and protect these young ones?

My visit to some of the handful schools we have for the intellectually disabled, was nothing to write home about. If not lacking teachers, comfortable classrooms, clinic, a good practical curriculum, supervision, facilities, teaching and learning materials then there isn’t a school at all.

Intellectual disability is a condition that could be enhanced by providing supports, a form of strategies and services provided over a sustained period will enable the intellectually disabled enjoy their rights and enhance their functioning within their own environment in order to lead a more successful and satisfying life. Some of this enhancement is thought of in terms of self-worth, subjective wellbeing, pride, engagement in political action, and other principles of self-identity.

A friend and I was brainstorming on possible ways Ghana could help the disabled. During our discussion she asked; “Huda what do you think about Inclusive policy?” hmm I know inclusive policy is aimed at integrating the disabled into the mainstream of education. This means the disabled will be joining the ‘normal’ schools to prevent discrimination. The policy looks nice and there are amusing measures in the policy in achieving this. I am not against inclusive education, I think it is a great idea but my question is; “Is Ghana ready?” Someone would ask when Ghana will be ready.

How many existing ‘normal’ schools were built to meet the needs of the disabled? Do we have enough knowledgeable special education teachers? What will be the ratio of teacher to students? Already the special schools Ghana has now lack teaching and learning materials, do we have enough funds to implement this policy? So I ask again is Ghana ready?

Employment rate of disabled is very low, it leaves them with no choice than to depend on other members of their family or beg on the street to be able to take care of him/ herself. Most of them are seen on the street and authorities have kept quiet about it. What percentage of the county’s money goes into the welfare of the disabled in this country?

Its high time a country of 58years since independence prioritize its agenda, than for the rich to keep on becoming richer and the poor poorer.

Emmanuel Kwame Mensah
Emmanuel Kwame Mensah, © 2016

This author has authored 21 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: EmmanuelKwameMensah

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