Children with Disabilities in the Upper West Region have presented a 10-point manifesto for onward submission to parliament to be included in society and accessibility to school infrastructure as enjoined in inclusive education policy.
The presentation was made in Jirapa as part of the Worldwide “Ring the Bell Campaign” for Education for Children with Disabilities on the theme: “All Children welcome in school including Children with Disability.”
The activity was organised by SWEB Foundation in partnership with ProNet North and the Jirapa Ghana Education Service (GES) and SWEB Foundation and brought more than 200 children with disabilities to participate in the campaign.
Ms Mary Delle and Miss Clarissa Ziekye from Girls Model Junior High School jointly read the manifesto.
The 10 action points were stated as follows: all children want to be able to reach school; provide children with disability (adapted) transport to school; all children want to be able to enter and pass through the school; and make school buildings, furniture and grounds accessible for children with a disability.
It also said: all children want to be able to visit restroom; provide an adapted restroom at every school for children with a disability; all children want to receive ‘honest’ education; adapt lessons and rules for children with disability; all children want to play; allow children with disability to participate in sports and games at school and all children want friends.
The rest are: teach children how they can be there for children with a disability; all children want parents to help; stand up as parents for children with disability; all children want good guidance; train teachers how they can better counsel children with a disability; all children want positive attention: children with a disability have the right to go to school and all children want to just be a kid as well as let children with disability advance and enjoy.
Miss Patricia Takyiwaa Amoateng, the Project Officer of SWEB said the manifesto received signatories from several stakeholders and would be presented to parliament to take action soon.
She explained that the objective of the campaign as to advocate Ghanaian Children with Disabilities have to access education and benefit fully from the country’s education policy and programmmes.
The programme welcomed all children in schools and focused on accessibility, acceptance and adaptations as pre-conditions for every child to go to school.
“Ring The Bell’ campaign sought to draw attention to the right to education of children with disabilities who are not able or not allowed to go to school.
“The ring the bell is just a noise making to make the society aware of the existence of children with disabilities,” Ms Patricia said: it is celebrated every year in March.
Pupils carried placards with various messages and made deafening noises for about five minute using bells, drums, et cetera to attract the attention of policymakers and other stakeholders to eliminate barriers that prevent them from being in school.
Participants who shared the children’s action wrote their names and signed the manifesto as their commitment and for onward submission to parliament.
Mr Mathias Gandaabie, the Special Education Coordinator of Jirapa GES who read the Municipal Director of Education speech urged the media to support the campaign for inclusive education.
He said all children could learn and benefit from education as the principles of Ghana’s inclusive education policy which states in alia: “No child should be excluded from or discriminated against education grounds of race, colour, sex, language, political or other options.”
Parents and guardians were encouraged to treat children with disability with special care as the District was poised to support programmes that would promote inclusion.