The Director of New Horizon Foundation for the Blind (NHFB) in Ho, Eric Kwabla Ofori, says persons with disability (PWDs) could attain greater heights and contribute meaningfully to national development if provided with a conducive environment.
He said the current education system was a hindrance to achieving their full potential adding that “If the environment is friendly we can participate fully and show off our potentials.”
He called for comprehensive mechanisms to address factors militating against the progressive match of PWDs to improve their standards of living.
Mr Ofori made these comments at a training workshop organised by the Foundation, in partnership with the Deutsche Blindenhillswerk (DBWH), and the Ghana Education Service for selected teachers and officers from 13 schools within the Ho Municipality on Inclusive Education.
It aimed at strengthening their capacity on inclusive pedagogies and approaches for learners with visual impairment in basic schools, in line with the Standard Based Curriculum.
The programme forms part of the Foundation’s six months project on “enhancing the full participation of learners with visual impairment when it comes to teaching and learning activities.”
Mr Ofori said the Standard Based Curriculum required that a child was trained based on his or her capacity, hence the need to build the capacity of teachers and equip them with the requisite skills to deliver.
He said though the government was promoting inclusive education, the policy would not be effectively implemented if teachers were not adequately equipped.
Mr Isaac Kodobisah, the Volta Regional Special Needs Education Coordinator, said the use of appropriate teaching methodologies was a prerequisite for promoting effective and quality teaching and learning.
When the appropriate methodologies were not applied, students would find it difficult to understand what was being taught and that affected their performance negatively, he said.
Mr Kodobisah urged teachers to endeavour to use the right methods and develop interactive measures to make teaching and learning appealing to students, especially persons with visual impairment.
He said disability should not be a barrier to the development of PWDs, adding: “We are all potential disables, hence conscious efforts must be made to create the environment that will cushion PWDs to explore their potentials and realise their dreams.”
Some participants who spoke to Ghana News Agency described the programme as helpful and said it had enlightened them on how to pay special attention to PWDs in their class.
Madam Peace Koka, a Teacher at Ho-Kpodzi Basic B, where Inclusive Education is currently ongoing, told the GNA that the skills acquired would go a long way to help her deliver effective inclusive education to her pupils.
Madam Antoinette Barnor-Gbagbo, the Headmistress of Ho-Kpodzi E.P. Primary School, said the workshop had inspired, motivated, and taught her how best to handle visually impaired students.
She disclosed that the school currently had six visually impaired female students and appealed to the Government, individuals, and philanthropists to support it with braille and other teaching and learning materials for easy teaching.