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The Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD), has called on the government and stakeholders in the education sector to review the current e-learning programme, to make it all inclusive.
Mr Juventus Duorinaah, Executive Director of the Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD), a member Association of the GFD who made the appeal said the current platform ignores many important aspects of education that made learning disability friendly.
“I want the government to review the e-learning programme because many children living with disability have been left out. It should be made more disability friendly, to ensure that they benefit, if not the e-learning is nothing to the persons living with disabilities who are at home.
“And that will also mean that they are being cheated because at the end of the day the deaf, the blind and the deaf-blind will all be writing the same paper,” he said.
Mr Duorinaah was speaking on the topic: “Impact of COVID-19 on the lives of persons with disabilities - experiences and lessons”, at a National Policy Dialogue on the Review of the Disability Act in Accra.
The dialogue, organized by the GFD in partnership with ActionAid Ghana, was aimed at soliciting inputs from relevant stakeholders to push for the review of the country’s Disability Act, to make it more inclusive and effective.
In March this year, government closed down all schools as part of measures to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Subsequently, the Ministry of Education together with the Ministry of Communications and the Ghana Education Service rolled out the e-learning programme, to ensure that students remained active while at home.
Mr Duorinaah said the plight of persons living with disabilities had worsened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many having lost their jobs.
He urged the media to throw more light on the challenges of persons living with disabilities, particularly in this period of COVID-19, to ensure that they receive the needed attention possible, to mitigate their plight.
Mr Alexander Bankole Williams, Chairman of the National Advocacy Committee of GFD also called on government to roll out a scheme that would deliver to every learner with disability, including the provision of disability-designed laptops, with accompanying appropriate software application that would make the laptops usable.
He further appealed to the government to review the television facilitated learning, to ensure that the full needs of persons with disabilities were factored.
“Also, identify those persons with disabilities who are unemployed at the moment and are particularly unable to go out job hunting, to begin to give them specific monthly stimulus packages as a form of social intervention to enable them to deal with their day-to-day living,” he said.
Mr John Nkaw, Head of Programmes, Campaigns and Innovations at ActionAid Ghana also urged government to do more beyond the social interventions, especially in the era of COVID-19, to mitigate the plights of the vulnerable, particularly persons living with disabilities.
He assured GFD of its commitment towards the empowerment of persons living with disability, to enable them to demand for their rights.
Meanwhile, the Federation has also urged the government to fast track processes of the amendment of the country’s current Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715), to conform with international conventions.
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