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Educating Disabled Children – Voice Ghana   
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A Survey conducted by an NGO based in Ho has shown that most parents, guardians and caregivers of children with disability (CWDs) in the Volta region were unaware that not educating them was a punishable offence.

According Voice of People with Disability (Voice-Ghana), the survey was conducted in the Ho municipality and Nkwanta South district of the region under an advocacy project sponsored by STAR-Ghana (Strengthening Transparency, Accountability and Responsiveness in Ghana).

The survey said 47 out of the 51 parents/guardians of CWDs in these areas were unaware of the provisions under section 16(1) (2) of the Disability Act, 715 of 2006, which state 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.”

The survey noted that as a result of this at least 51 children with disabilities in 35 communities within the Ho municipality were not in school for various reasons although the children were willing to be educated. Thirty seven of such children were also identified in 26 communities in the Nkwanta-South district where the survey was replicated.

In a move to reverse the trend, Voice-Ghana launched a campaign dubbed “Disabled Children for School” on Tuesday in Ho. The campaign was to sensitize parents, guardians and caregivers of CWDs on the need to enroll their disabled children in school. Although the campaign is starting in Ho and Nkwanta South, it is expected to spread to other parts of the region.

The campaign will immediately engage the Ho Municipal Assembly to consider enacting a bye law to waive the payment of levies including PTA dues for CWDs at the basic school level in the municipality. It also proposed that the bye law should make room for basic schools that have enrolment of four or more children with disabilities to access the 2% District Assembly Common Fund earmarked for such persons as an incentive to augment their education expenses.

This intervention, Francis Asong, Director of Voice-Ghana 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…”

He noted that despite national and international enactments which seek to guarantee the rights of persons with disabilities to education, the prevalence of anti-disability sentiments and beliefs as well as institutional flaws had hindered the education of the disabled.

He therefore appealed to all and sundry to acknowledge that education was the right of every child including the disabled and hence “make sure the disabled also go to school.”

The campaign which is in collaboration with 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 and its donor partners (DFID, EU, DANIDA, and USAID).
Source: Daily Guide

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