A Ho-based NGO, Voice of People with Disability, Ghana, (Voice-Ghana), has launched a campaign dubbed ‘Disabled children for school’ aimed at sensitizing parents, guardians and caregivers of Children with Disability (CWDs) on the need to enroll their disabled children in school.
Addressing the press at a stakeholders’ meeting in Ho on Tuesday, Mr. Francis Asong, director of Voice-Ghana said despite national and international enactments which seeks to guarantee the right of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to education, the prevalence of anti-disability sentiments and beliefs as well as institutional flaws had hindered the education of the disabled.
Mr. Asong noted that majority of parents still discriminate against their disabled children in the area of formal education specially, because to them it is a waste of resources.
As a result “most children with disability are not formally educated and this reduces their chances of accessing gainful and meaningful employment and to be self-informed about human rights and health issues to live descent lives”, Mr. Asong stated.
As part of the campaign, Mr. Asong noted that, Voice-Ghana would engage the Ho municipal assembly to consider enacting a byelaw to waive the payment of levies including PTA dues for CWDs at the basic school level in the municipality.
This intervention, he said “would invariably reduce the financial burden on many parents and caregivers of children with disabilities who are already overburdened with financial commitments in supporting their disabled children…”
The campaign which is in collaboration with of Governance Issues Forum, a Ho-based NGO and the Special Education Directorate of the Ho Municipal Ghana Education Service (GES), is part of a three-year advocacy project with funding from STAR-Ghana.
A survey conducted under the programme, indicated that at least 51 children with disabilities in 35 communities within the Ho Municipality were not in school for various reasons. 37 of such children were also identified in 26 communities in the Nkwanta-South District where the survey was replicated.
According to the survey, 47 out of the 51 parents/guardians of CWDs’ are unaware of the provisions under section 16(1)(2) of the Disability Act, 715 of 2006, which states that;
(1) ‘A parent, guardian or custodian of a child with disability of school going age shall enroll the child in a school.
(2). A parent, guardian or custodian who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding ten penalty units, or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding fourteen days.’
Mr Michael Tsikudo, Ho Municipal GES Special Education Officer, said it was the right of the disabled to go to mainstream schools. He therfore called for the support of all to eradicate the inequalities perpetuated against the disabled in the society.