Majority of disabled children in Africa are out of school

Estimates by the “Education for Alls” (EFAs) Global Monitoring Report 2007 indicates that the majority of children with disabilities in Africa do not attend school.

The report indicates that of the 72 million primary aged children worldwide who are out of school, one third have disabilities.

Speaking at the 32nd Anniversary celebration of the Savelugu School for the Deaf in the Savelugu Nanton District of the Northern Region, Mr Bukari Mohammed, an Official at the Special Education Division of the Ghana Education Service, said the EFA Global Report stated that the marginalized and children with disabilities remained the main groups being widely excluded from quality education.

The day was set aside by the School Management Committee and Parents/Teachers Association (PTA) to recognize pupils of the school who had excelled in their fields of endeavour and also demonstrate to people that disability is not inability.

Mr. Bukari, speaking on the topic, “collective efforts of improving special education in Ghana a responsibility of all”, said the nation’s quest to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)’ through EFA framework would be impossible without improving access to quality education for children with disabilities.

He said although successive governments had put in place interventions and policy reforms including the school feeding programme, free school uniforms and exercise books, children with disabilities did not have access to post basic education.

Mr. Bukari said even though the Persons with Disability Act (Act 715) mandated parents and guardians to send their children with disabilities to school, some parents refused to send their disabled children to school.

“Access to quality education also depends on support of parents but some of them treat their children with disabilities as unwanted objects,” he said.

Mr. Bukari appealed to the society to re-orient their thinking and treat people with disabilities respectfully.

Mrs. Immaculate Atoriyah, the Headmistress of the school, called on the government to help provide infrastructure and the enabling environment for the pupils to study and contribute their quota to the nation‘s development.

“We have been neglected for far too long and so we are demanding that it is our right to have education in the most suitable and favorable environment”, she said.

Mrs. Atoriyah advised parents to put an end to using their children with disabilities to beg for alms on the street and enroll them in any of the special schools since it was free.

She expressed worry over parents’ lackadaisical attitude towards their children and its effect on the performance of the students in the school.

Mrs Atoriyah said most of the parents never visited or picked their children during vacations and the school had to spend additional cost in keeping house masters and mothers to cater for them.

Source: GNA

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