National Assessment and Resource Centre For Disability Children in Tatters
The National Assessment and Resource Centre for Children with Disabilities looks 'useless.' Staff of the National Assessment and Resource Centre for Children with Disabilities have been warned never to grant media interviews or be open to the media.
An official who made this known to the Ghana News Agency said they work under severe harsh conditions but it seems no one cares because children or persons with disabilities are not given any attention by governments
None of the staff who spoke to GNA's Hannah Awadzi gave their name, they all pleaded anonymity saying, 'we have been warned not to speak to any media personnel nor invite the media here for anything, we are told to be tight lipped.'
One of them said 'Madam, you can see for yourself, we cannot talk to you on our conditions of service or what pertains here but I will be happy if you write about it.'
Mrs Hannah Awadzi, a journalist with the Ghana News Agency and also the Founder of the Special Mothers Project, an advocacy and awareness creation programme on Cerebral palsy issues had gone to the Centre to have an assessment done for her daughter who has Cerebral Palsy.
She said 'when I got there, I engaged the staff in a conversation, knowing the frustrations most parents go through to have their children assessed with no effective results.'
Most children with Cerebral palsy assessed at the Centre are not placed in any school with the excuse that they are not toilet trained, parents pay so much for physiological test and the assessment but in the end the whole process seems useless so most parents are reluctant to go through the assessment process.
Most children with Cerebral palsy are kept at home, some locked up when the parents are going to work and some killed because schools in Ghana do not admit children with Cerebral palsy.
The National Assessment and Resource Centre for Children with Disabilities is under the supervision of the Special Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service. Its primary function is to assess children with disabilities throughout the country and place them in appropriate schools.
Usually, even after the assessment, children with Cerebral palsy are refused admission even with a letter and an assessment report from the Centre.
The Centre was established to provide avenues for early identification and detection of childhood disabilities and transfer them to Special Schools to gain education.
Ghana adopted an Inclusive Education policy about six years ago, the policy states among others that no child should be rejected or refused access to education based on disability.
However, only about one percent of children with Cerebral palsy are lucky to have access to education and even the one percent pays about thrice what a regular child pays to access education, even though on paper children with disabilities are supposed to have free education.
A contract to build a new National Assessment and Resource Centre for Children with Disabilities was awarded to Rock Everest Company in 2012 after media reports on their dilapidated wooden structure which posed danger to both the staff and patrons of the place by the Ministry of Education through the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND)
The building which was scheduled to be completed in six months have been abandoned by the contractor.
The staff work from an uncompleted building where hawkers also come to rest for shelter when they are tired. Currently, there are no windows and the staff hang rubber mats to protect themselves from the sunlight.