Innovative Policy 2016 on Inclusive education and ICT
Inclusive Education rolled-out throughout Ghana
THE STORY OF KOFI
“My class became a virtual sea of pictures.”
On weekends I reflect on my weekly activities. While reminiscing, my thoughts turned to a particular student who had caught my attention. I had not realized how long I had been serving as a special educator at the Anglican Primary School till my encounter with a young boy who was using a hearing aid. He approached me and we had a bit of a conversation.
As I reminisced, in my mind’s eye I could see him as he shyly walked into class with his head low and his face expressionless. I remembered the confusion in his eyes and his state of utmost isolation because he could not hear well while I taught the day’s lessons. Gradually, I developed techniques to coax him out of his shell and to help him with his studies. My class became a virtual sea of pictures, as I used a lot more images to communicate. I recalled how I vehemently opposed the administrative decision to send him out of the school.
My insistence led to the admission of a few other students like him, and soon my class had become inclusive. Other teachers learned from my example and more children like Kofi had the chance to become educated. Today, he stands before me a beneficiary of Inclusive Education. He had come to express his gratitude after learning how instrumental I was in getting him an education at the fundamental level.
|Responsible body||Ministry of Education|
Ghana’s Inclusive Education Policy provides a more harmonized and strategic approach to planning and financial prioritization in order to roll-out Inclusive Education activities on a wider scale and reach all learners with special educational needs. The policy is complemented by a comprehensive five-year implementation plan (2015–2019) that includes indicators, a timeframe, a budget, and responsible stakeholders for each action to be undertaken.
Despite an overall increase in school enrolment in Ghana, some children continued to be left behind, particularly children with disabilities, who went either to segregated boarding schools or were not enrolled at all. In 2009, Inclusive Education was piloted in the Central, Greater Accra, and Eastern Region, and by 2011 it was implemented in 529 schools. To roll-out these activities, UNICEF, the Ghana Blind Union, and Inclusion Ghana commenced discussions with the Ghana Education Service, the Ministry of Education, and other stakeholders to develop a policy framework. The involvement of non-state actors was key to the policy’s adoption, along with an accompanying implementation plan.
Ghana’s Inclusive Education Policy of 2013 is a national legally-binding policy. To adapt the existing education system, special schools are transformed to serve as resource centres, school infrastructure is improved, and funding is provided. To promote a learner-friendly school environment, curricula and teacher training are reviewed and resources are provided. Staff, community, and media are also sensitized. Both private and public schools in Ghana must implement Inclusive Education and cannot deny admission. The responsibilities of ministries are clearly defined and the government is the principal funder. The implementation plan provides for the expected deliverables, including indicators, budget, timeframe, actors, and collaborating ministries or agencies. All institutions have to include Inclusive Education issues in their planning documents, which are reviewed annually. The policy will be reviewed every five years.
Nominated by: Auberon Jeleel ODOOM, Inclusion Ghana