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17.11.2005 Regional News

Include teaching of sign language in GES curriculum

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Tamale, Nov. 17, GNA - The Physically Challenged persons have appealed to the Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education to include the teaching of sign language and Braille in the education curriculum to be taught in schools.

They have also called on the media to help promote issues concerning them to facilitate the passage of the Disability Bill currently before Parliament.

Mrs Patricia Baafo, Vice President, Women's wing of the Ghana Association of the Deaf made the appeal in Tamale on Thursday on Media Sensitisation Seminar, aimed at soliciting the media support to put pressure on the Parliament to pass the Disability Bill. The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) sponsored the one-day seminar on the theme: "Promoting Understanding and Action of the Passage of the Disability Bill 2005, the Role of the Media".

Mrs Baafo said if sign language were taught in schools the problem of communicating with the deaf and dumb would have been solved. She said it was embarrassing for people to explain to doctors on behalf of the deaf and dumb anytime they reported to the hospitals. For instance, in terms of chaos, those with hearing problems would be killed because they would not hear to run to safety, Mrs Baafo explained.

She said there were only two secondary schools throughout the country that teach sign language and that products from these schools, who qualified to enter tertiary face a lot of frustrations because no teaching of sign language was taught at any of the tertiary institutions in the country.

Mr Nicolas Halm, Advocacy Officer, Ghana Federation for the Disabled (GFD) appealed to the public including proprietors of hotels to consider printing their leaflets in Braille and also engage the services of people who speak the sign language to communicate with the deaf and dumb.

He appealed to the government to facilitate the passage of the Disability Bill currently before Parliament to help them reposition their lives in society.

He said Ghana was always a signatory to International Conventions "But does little to practice the purpose to which they sign the convention" adding, it would be suicidal, if the government refused to pass the bill.

Mr Christopher Kissieh, National President, Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled commended the NPP government for allocating five per cent (5%) of the District Assembly Common Fund for the physically disabled.

Mr Abdul Wahab Musah, Programme Officer for CDD catalogued the challenges of the Physically challenged and called on the media to use every channel possible to educate the public not to discriminate against them.

He said about two million Ghanaians were physically challenged and that there was the need to help integrate them into the society to curb the menace on the streets.