Ministry of Education (MOE) has launched the Inclusive Education (IE) Policy, which defines the strategic path of government for the education of all children with special educational needs.
The 45-page document is an outcome of a series of discussions and consultations between numerous stakeholders in the education sector.
The document seeks to builds upon sections of the 1992 Constitution, the National Development Agenda, the Education Strategic Plan and other international commitments, to achieve national as well as international goals for creating an environment for addressing the diverse educational needs of Ghanaians.
With this new arrangement, children with special needs would have the opportunity to attend mainstream schools without any hindrances.
Mr Jacob Kor, the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, who represented the Minister of Education, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman, launched the Policy in Accra, together with two other documents; the Standards and Guidelines, as well as the IE Implementation Plan.
He said the Policy would respond to changing priorities and national aspirations as well as international development trends in provisions for inclusive education, and it would be revised every five years.
Mr Kor said the policy would look at a more harmonized and strategic approach to planning, and also financial prioritization, to roll out these activities on a wider scale and to reach all learners with special educational needs.
He said IE would ensure access and learning for all children, regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic or other conditions.
He said it aims to create learning environments that are responsive to all learners’ needs and were conducive to all to ensure successful educational outcomes, and ultimately to achieve a more equitable society.
It goes beyond the education system to the communities in which learners live, to ensure that they are welcomed, nurtured and given the opportunity to thrive to their optimum capacities, he said.
The Policy objectives, he said aims to improve and adapt education and related systems and structures to ensure the inclusion of all learners particularly learners with special educational needs, and to promote Universal Design for Learning and learner friendly school environment for enhancing the quality of education for all learners.
It also seeks to promote the development of a well-informed and trained human resource cadre for the quality delivery of IE throughout Ghana, and also ensure sustainability of Inclusive Education Implementation.
Mr Kor said although the Government was the primary financier of IE, all stakeholders are encouraged to provided their support for the successful implementation and sustainability of the Policy.
He said the Ministry, shall have the responsibility of policy review, coordination, monitoring, and evaluation as well as an impact assessment, and also have oversight responsibilities on the implementation and also ensure that adequate provision was made for IE activities in the annual budget allocation.
He acknowledged the support of State and non-State actors including UNICEF and STAR-Ghana for their tremendous financial and technical assistance in the piloting phase of IE and for their involvement in the development of the Policy.
Mr Anthony Boateng, the Director in Charge of the Special Education Division of the GES, said the Special Education Division under the GES has already started the implementation of IE on pilot basis in three regions namely; the Central Greater Accra and Eastern Regions.
He said by the end of 2011, it has covered 529 schools in 34 districts, while UNICEF has added 14 more schools to the list of piloted schools in June 2012.
He said the strategy was to identify children with mild to moderate cases, and provide them with the needed support, while the special school remains the resource centers for those with severe or chronic cases.