Ghana Federation of the Disabled
Ghana Federation of the Disabled

The architecture of the buildings, the GFD says, debars Persons with Disability (PWDs) from accessing them.

Ghana Federation of the Disabled
Ghana Federation of the Disabled

An audit report by the GFD, sighted by Public Agenda, has confirmed the fact the designs were unfriendly to PWDs. The Federation thus regrets the fact that qualified PWDs living around the flagship project of the Mahama–led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration are unlikely to access these facilities as a result of their unfriendly designs.

The audit report observes with much regret that the schools lack ramps, elevators and have narrow classroom entrances that could hinder the movements of PWDs.

The report adds that roads leading to all the schools premises are bumpy, rough and untarred, which the Federation anticipates could be very muddy during the rainy season and hinder movements of wheelchair and white cane users.

The Advocacy officer of the Federation, Mr Isaac Tuggun complained, “PWDs will not be able to access the schools during the rainy season, the schools are three-storey blocks in a form of the letter E, with libraries located on third floors, assembly halls on second floors.

“The structures have neither ramps nor elevators to enable students and employees with disability access to the libraries, the assembly hall, and the classrooms on the second and third floors.”
Mr Tuggun, who was part of the audit added, “The entrances to the classrooms and washrooms are also narrow with high likelihood to impede independent entry and exit by students and employees using wheelchairs and crutches, as well as those with visual impairment.

The architecture of the schools’ structures, the Federation maintains are in contravention of section 6 of Ghana’s disability law (Act 715), article 9 of the UN convention on right of persons with disabilities (CRPD), and article 29 of the 1992 constitution of Ghana.

The report said students and employees or visitors using wheelchairs to get on the verandah required being lifted.

“To access the information and communication technology centre, one has to descend a flight of staircases from two approaches. This poses very serious challenges to the visually impaired. PWDs cannot access the computer lab,” the report said.

“Also students and workers or visitors with physical disability cannot move from one block to the other because they have to pass in front of the ICT centre, which means descending and climbing a flight of staircases. The washrooms were not accessible.

“Some schools are located on hills and, therefore, very difficult to be reached by students and workers with disability.”

The schools are located 6 kilometers away from the town, the report said, citing Otuam in the central region.

“This is a big challenge to PWDs trying to access education from or work in the school,” GFD said.
Ghana signed the UNCRPD in 2007 and ratified it and the optional protocol in 2012, making it part of the body laws in the country.

Sources close to the federation said attempt to have a copy of the schools structural designs for input from the ministry of education has failed, and threatened to invoke the powers of a law court to place perpetual injunction on the use of the schools, until it complied legal requirement.

The government promised to construct 200 community senior high schools projected to engage over 900 teachers with enrollment of over 240,000 across the country to improve access to secondary education.

Source: Public Agenda
By Mohammed Suleman

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