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10.07.2005 General News

Minister promises textbooks, Braille papers to blind schools


Akropong (E/R), July 10, GNA - The Minister of Education and Sports, Mr Yaw Osafo-Marfo, has announced that all institutions, which specialize in the training of the physically challenged persons in the country, would be supplied with adequate textbooks and necessary specialized materials by the end of October 2005.

To this end, he said he had directed that the Director of Special Education use 800 million cedis of his Ministry's budget to acquire Braille and other educational materials, which would be needed by the blind schools for distribution throughout the country.

The Minister announced this at the 60th Anniversary celebration of the School for the Blind at Akropong on Saturday.

Mr Osafo-Marfo said, his ministry was also working out a deal under the Ghana e-schools and the NEPAD e-schools project to make Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure available at all schools in the country, including specialized institutions for the blind, to introduce them to the ICT world.

"Negotiations have started with ICT3o Foundation of the Netherlands, an NGO to provide about 70,000 computers for basic schools within the next five years, with the top priority being schools for children, who are physically challenged" he said.

Mr Osafo-Marfo promised that allowances of teachers at specialized institutions would be enhanced soon to ensure that, "such children were given the best attention to make it in life" and urged the teachers to continue with the good work, which they had been doing in the specialized institutions.

He announced that President John K. Kufuor, had directed his ministry to give the school a 54-seater bus to mark their 60th anniversary and promised to deliver it soon, and personally donated four-million cedis to be distributed amongst the school choir, band and the cultural group for their splendid show at the function. The Headmaster of the school, Mr Henry Ahiable, said the school was not a dumping home for the blind, adding that, the school had kindergarten, primary, JSS, crafts department for vocational studies and a rehabilitation centre and use the standard curriculum and write the same examination as the normal public schools.

He announced that, last year, 28 of the blind students sat for the BECE and passed with 92 per cent and the school placed 19th out of the 63 basic schools in the Akuapem North District.

Mr Ahiable appealed for the supply of Braille papers, which the blind students used as writing sheets to facilitate their studies, since government textbooks supplied to the school were not in Braille, therefore not useful for the blind students.

He urged the society to contribute to the training of persons with disability, because such persons had the ability to perform, given the needed support and added that, some of the old students of the school had graduated at the universities, some with masters degrees.

The school for the blind was started in 1934 by a Scottish missionary and was formally taken over by government in 1945 to cater for the education of the blind.

An appeal for fund at the function yielded an amount of thirteen million cedis.