A rapid desktop review study conducted by the Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (IEPA) at the University of Cape Coast has revealed that about one in every five children in the country between two and 17 years have functioning difficulty.
It identified that the difficulty was more prevalent in the five to 17 years age group as compared to children between two and four years.
The study further identified that the highest proportions of children with functioning difficulties were found in the Volta, Eastern and Upper West regions while the least were reported from Northern and Greater Accra regions.
Children with functioning difficulties are those who are unable to function the way normal children do. In the classroom, such children are not active when a teacher is teaching and so are unable to contribute in class. They include children with speech, hearing and visual impairment.
The revelation were the findings of a desktop review conducted by the IEPA and presented by its Head of Research and Policy, Dr Wisdom K. Agbevanu, at the second Policy Dialogue on the Innovative Pedagogies Project (IPP) held in Accra on July 6.
The first policy dialogue came off in April this year and it was aimed at collecting information from the participants of the inclusive, engaging and adaptive pedagogies project.
The second dialogue, also organised by the IEPA in collaboration with the Education Commission, Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service, was attended by various stakeholders in education.
Dr Agbevanu explained that the review was done using all the studies that had been done in the country regarding inclusive, engaging and adaptive (IEA) pedagogies and documents from the Ministry of Education on the subject, and the findings further revealed that 16 per cent of schools declared having at least one pupil with a disability.
He said it also revealed that lack of facilities in basic and senior high schools disproportionately affected children with disabilities with almost no regular basic schools having hand-rails and only eight per cent equipped with ramps.
On training, he said, the review showed that 40 per cent of teachers in public basic schools had been trained in effectively teaching learners with special education needs by 2020 and 2021 while 35 per cent of integrated basic schools provided with specialised teaching and learning materials for special education needs learners by 2020 and 2021.
On challenges impeding the implementation of innovative, engaging and adaptive (IEA) pedagogies in the country, Dr Agbevanu said the review identified them to include limited knowledge about childhood disabilities at all levels and inadequate support for children with differential learning needs to participate in general schools.
He added that a significant number of teachers implementing inclusive education policy in inclusive schools and regular classrooms lacked adequate understanding of the content and details of the policy, support to teach and how to attend to children with special education needs.
The Director-General of the IEPA, Dr Michael Boakye-Yiadom, remarked that the findings of the review would go a long way to identify the gaps in innovative, engaging and adaptive pedagogies in the education system of the country and provide solutions on how to deal with them.
“When we talk about inclusive education, it means the transformation must be inclusive, equitable and cover everybody, including children and those with disabilities,” he said.
Giving an overview of the Innovative Pedagogies Project (IPP), a professor of educational leadership at IEPA, Prof Rosemary Seiwah Bosu, said it sought to make education inclusive, engaging and adaptive.