The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) is asking government to increase funding to at least 2percent of the education budget for the effective implementation of the Inclusive Education (IE) policy by end of 2018.
The Coalition indicated that the Inclusive Education (IE) Policy and Minimum Standards and Guidelines were developed by Special Education Division (SpED) of Ghana Education Service (GES).
It added that the Minimum Standards and Guidelines and the implementation plan were completed, duly launched and adopted by the MoE in May, 2016.
However, the scope of the implementation is still lower and limited to fewer districts.
Speaking at a policy dialogue meeting organized with Media General under the theme, “Ghana’s Inclusive Education Policy: Time For Full Implementation,” the Executive Chairman of GNECC, Bright Appiah said the reason for the increment of budget allocation is to ensure the effective implementation of the inclusive education policy to provide access to quality education for all children with disabilities without hindrance.
According to him, the practice of the parallel system of education at the basic level is such that children without disabilities are enrolled in regular schools in their communities, while their counterparts with disabilities are enrolled in a limited number of segregated schools located mainly at the urban centers.
He noted that the number of segregated schools has remained static as there has been little effort to expand them to meet the demands of the ever increasing population of children with disabilities.
Bright Appiah indicated that most children with disabilities within rural communities are denied access to quality education as a result of inadequate and inaccessible nature of public schools.
To address the challenges, he posited that aside the 2percent increment of the budget allocation for effective implementation, government should expand the policy across all districts in the country.
He indicated that the Coalition has simplified the Inclusive Education Policy and disseminated to key stakeholders across the country.
“Over 4,000 posters have also been distributed to the general public to create awareness. A public lecture and other events have been organized to sensitize the general public on the Inclusive Education Policy,” Mr. Appiah stated.
Delivery the keynote address, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba said the determination by stakeholders calling for a scale up throughout Ghana is commendable.
She indicated that with funding from UNICEF, an amount of US$121,952, 024 has been earmarked for the implementation plan spanning from 2015 to 2019.
The Gender Minister noted that 10 regional assessment centres have been established with number of Assistive Devices and Screening Materials worth over US$100,000.00 provided to SpED (USAID collaborated).
According to her, despite the major achievements, challenges such as inadequate appropriate Teaching/ learning materials for learners with disabilities, larger class size to effectively deliver inclusive education, unwelcoming environment for children with disabilities in schools, inadequate assistive devices, unwelcoming attitude of some Teachers/pupils toward pupils with disabilities, unco-operative attitude of some parents/family/community members and inadequate funding continue to widen the gap.