The National Assessment and Resource Centre in Ghana, a place where children with special educational needs are assessed for appropriate placement into school, needs urgent attention from government.
Mr Anthony Boateng, Director of the Special Education Division of the Ghana Education Service has called for expedite action to complete a new building for the Centre.
Currently the Centre operates from a temporary structure that does not even have a room to store equipment.
Mr Boateng in an interview with the media on the recently launched Inclusive Education Policy highlighted how:
“UNICEF donated some equipment to be used for assessment to the Centre, but because the temporary structure is not in good shape thieves have broken into the place several times to steal some of the items.”
He said the building which was supposed to be completed in six months is delayed by seven years and is still not completed.
“Staff feel so uncomfortable, when it is sunny, the place is too warm, they are not able to stay and when it rains hard, it is another challenge,” Mr Boateng said.
Commenting on the Inclusive Education Policy, he said the policy makes it possible for all children with special educational needs to be sent to school.
He noted that the Ghana Education Service has established Unit Schools attached to regular schools in selected public schools where professionals and special educators are readily available alongside the mainstream teachers to help children with special educational needs.
He advised parents who encountered difficulties with sending their special needs children to school to contact the assessment centre for help.
Mr Boateng emphasised that: “Children with special needs can now attend school and be trained, with the gradual implementation of the Inclusive Education Policy.
The Inclusive Education Policy in Ghana makes it possible for schools to accommodate all children regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic or other conditions.
Some parents of children with cerebral palsy earlier complained that their children were refused admission even into special schools.
Some of the parents explained that schools required that children with special needs were toilet trained and able to help themselves to a large extent before being admitted into schools of any kind. This meant a major barrier for many children and hence barred access to these schools.