Discriminatory issues for children with special needs: the case of Ghana

Author(s)

Publication date

2017

Publisher

Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences

Document type

Description

Master i International Social Welfare and Health Policy

Abstract

Across all regions of Ghana, impaired children are largely victims of deep-rooted traditional/cultural beliefs on disability that exclude them form the mainstream social community and deny them the opportunity to explore their abilities and potential within inclusive educational settings. This dissertation sought to investigate how impaired students navigate their school experience of disability amid the attached restrictions and challenges and provide some insights into the delivery of educational services as welfare services in Ghana, where this cohort is largely exposed to derogatory labelling, alienation and seclusion. Based on a quantitative research methodology using data collected from survey participants in nine of the thirty-eight public colleges of education in Ghana, the researcher aimed to understand and explain how the education system works to remove discrimination and stigma against special learners and integrate them into the mainstream. The survey included 300 teachers scattered across all regions of Ghana, expected to have completed some degree of theoretical and practical training. Thus, with potential to offer a clear picture of their understanding of inclusive education (IE), predisposition to accommodate the needs of disabled learns by adjusting pedagogical practices, and general feelings of self-efficacy towards IE to remove discrimination and stigma. The scholarly community from both the Global North and South has repeatedly articulated the importance of teachers in ensuring inclusivity for all students and the positive impact of mentor’ training programs on improving the knowledge of impairment, inclusive practices, behaviours towards disabled children, and preparedness to create IE settings. Our results showed that to accommodate SEN students in mainstream settings, several adjustments need to be operated to enable their understanding of course content. First, teachers must adapt the curricula to the traits and ability levels of impaired children. Second, the instruction methodology must be tailored to meet the array of personal and educational needs of disabled students. Adaptive teaching is a pivotal component of effective instruction, although, practical realities show that mentors find it challenging to reshape teaching approaches to address the requirements of CWDs in regular classrooms. The entire research agrees with the argument that efforts to include disabled students into mainstream education via inclusive learning practices require that teacher training programs need to be explored in greater depth. Further, our findings indicated that Ghana needs to create comprehensive strategies and programs to encourage inclusive education and that the attitude of the stakeholders is pivotal in achieving the goals of IE. The community is playing an important part in promoting the rights of disabled children and eliminating discrimination, social exclusion and alienation of this group. Overall, the results of the analysis highlight the need for further reforms in teacher training in Ghanaian colleges of education. The barely positive approaches of disability and the traditional beliefs about the causes of impairment, coupled with the absence of meaningful experiences in delivering IE by mentors, emphasize that innovative practices are strongly required to improve the educational journey for both instructors seeking to remove discrimination against CWDs via IE, and SEN students.

Keywords

Version

acceptedVersion

Permanent URL (for citation purposes)

  • https://hdl.handle.net/10642/5438