Government has gone far in its plans to implement the Inclusive Education Policy before 2015 to meet the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) deadline.
Mr Mike Hammah, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources made this known in a speech read for him at the opening of the five-day first Sub-Regional Summit on Inclusive Education for West and Central Africa Countries in Winneba on Tuesday.
The summit under the theme, “Inclusive Education for West and Central Africa” is aimed at providing a platform for the articulation of views from West and Central African on inclusive education.
It is being attended by Cote D’Ivoire, Cameroon, Nigeria, Mali and Ghana and topics to be treated include Teacher Preparation, Support Personnel, Accessibility Issues, Assessment and Evaluation, Facility Utilization and Curriculum.
He said the government was aware of the numerous challenges facing the implementation of inclusive education and gave the assurance that everything possible would be done to ensure that all children including those with disability could have access to quality education.
The Minister said the implementation would provide an opportunity for the government to improve facilities, incentives and other teaching aides for teachers at the special education unit of the Ministry of Education to work effectively.
Mr Hammah said the government had started the processes of implementing the policy with the upgrading of Teacher Training Colleges to tertiary institutions to enhance quality basic education.
Prof. Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw, Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University of Education (UEW), in an address read for him, said the summit would reflect positively on issues concerning access and enrolment of children with disability in education.
He said no individual nation could achieve the inclusive agenda successfully without policy makers, professionals in academia and stakeholders playing respective roles in analyzing and brainstorming over issues that could affect the inclusive agenda.
Prof. Asabere-Ameyaw expressed the hope that their deliberations at the summit may not benefit them as individuals but would add to attitudinal change, policy formulation and implementation of improvement in the whole school system.
The VC said their presentation should also inform policy makers in education about the issues and challenges concerning inclusive education of children with disabilities and with special educational needs in their various countries.
Prof Theresa S.M. Tchmobe from the University of Buea in Cameroon, in a keynote address on the dimensions of Inclusive practice in West and Central Africa, said policy inclusive practices should encourage the joint efforts of partners and stakeholders to make learning accessible and ensure equality of such access without discrimination.
She therefore called for practical change that would enable persons with diverse backgrounds and abilities in the school system to succeed and contribute towards the educational development in their various countries.
Professor Mawutor Avoke, of UEW who chaired the function, said the next summit would be held in Cameroon in 2014.
He urged the participants to take the summit serious and come out with an effective communiqué that could be adopted by the participating countries for inclusive education. GNA