University for Development Studies (UDS) Center for Educational Innovation and Leadership marks International Day for Persons with Disabilities under the global theme “Leadership and Participation of Persons with Disabilities towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-Covid-19 World”. 

Speakers at the forum organised at the ICT Auditorium, Tamale Campus, of the University for Development Studies (UDS) reiterated the need for government and other significant stakeholders to give special attention to Persons living with Disabilities in Ghana.

Findings of a research conducted by senior members of the UDS Faculty of Education indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic affected academic progress of students in Ghana, particularly for the most marginalised groups, including people with disabilities. 

The concern was raised by the Dean of the UDS Faculty of Education, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Gunu on the occasion of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities. 

Three human rights advocacy Civil Society Organizations, CREDA, Norsaac and Oxfam in collaboration with the UDS Center for Educational Innovation and Leadership organised the symposium to mark the day, simultaneously with the National Farmers Day. 

Dr. Ibrahim Gunu explained that the symposium formed part of the Center ‘s disability advocacy programme, which is intended to create awareness of the challenges facing persons with disabilities.  According to him, the decision to adopt online teaching and learning at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic affected Persons with Disabilities. 

“It must be stated that in search of normalcy during the COVID19 pandemic regarding teaching and learning in Ghanaian schools, educational institutions were compelled to adopt online teaching and learning. The decision to conduct online teaching and learning excluded some students from academic work most especially persons with disabilities thereby denying them access to quality education as enshrined in the SDGs”.

“I would like to use this platform to call on government and significant stakeholders to immediately adapt appropriate measures to support people with disabilities, who are at higher risk of being affected by COVID-19, to sustain and protect their education.”

“It must be stated that, National and global responses to this pandemic and planning for future crises must be fully inclusive in line with the frameworks of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the SDGs. The SDGS represent a global commitment towards making life better for citizens of various countries.” 

 “People with disabilities should be included in decision-making, planning, implementation and monitoring of national COVID-19 responses” he advised. 

Other speakers at the symposium included Dr. Issaka Cecilia Alimatu, Vice Dean – Faculty of Education. She lauded the efforts of Ghanaian Governments in putting in certain measures to support the welfare of persons living with disabilities such as “the 2006 disability act (act 715)” and “the recent reforms: the Universal Design for Learning (UDL). That aims at making provision for learner with diverse need”. She however emphasised the need for support for persons living with disabilities. 

The UDS Faculty of Education Center for Educational Innovation and Leadership is a center of research excellence in evidence-based policy research and reflective experimentation to improve student learning in all instructional formats at all levels of the educational system.

The Center is touted for collaborating with organisations to deliver programmes and projects and the most recent one was its collaboration with Oxfam and Norsaac to deliver the first Education Policy debate for political Parties in Ghana during the 2020 general elections. 

Ghana was among the 193 member states of United Nations (UN) that unanimously adopted the SDGS in September 2015.

Therefore, the need for collaboration on this advocacy programme cannot be so urgent in any time than now if Ghana is to be part of the global community.

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