Mr Eric Kwabla Ofori, the Director, New Horizon Foundation of the Blind (NHFB), says technology and innovation play crucial roles in surmounting challenges faced by learners with visual impairment in accessing inclusive education.
He said education could be made more accessible and fun to learners with visual impairment through provision of accessible and affordable learning materials and assistive devices and technology.
Mr Ofori said these during the fifth anniversary celebration of the New Horizon E.P. Educational Centre for the Blind in Ho, in the Volta Region.
It was on the theme: “Five Years of Using Innovation and Technology in Promoting Inclusive Education for Learners with Visual Impairment; Our Success, Challenges, and the Way Forward.”
Mr Ofori said it was also essential to have regular training and support for special education teachers to develop their skills and improve upon their knowledge to deliver quality education to learners with special needs.
“The New Horizon E.P. Educational Centre for the Blind was established through the combined efforts of the NHFB, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation, Deutsches Blindenhilsfswerk (DBHW) of Germany, and the E.P Church, Ghana to provide training to children and young adults with visual impairment,” he said.
Mr Ofori said the primary goal of the Centre was to equip students with functional academic skills, including mobility, independent living, and social interaction skills, to prepare them for mainstreaming into inclusive education schools.
He said the Centre had chalked a lot of successes over the past years, with 11 of their students currently in the mainstream at junior high school, two at senior high, and one at the College of Education, Akropong.
It currently has 25 students, and the use of technology and innovation has been essential in achieving its goals of promoting inclusive education.
Mr Ofori, however, said limited access to learning materials such as textbooks and braille sheets, due to high cost, had made it difficult for financially challenged students to afford.
Madam Pauline Owens, who deputised for the German Ambassador, Mr Daniel Krull, noted that every individual, regardless of their ability, should have access to equal education.
She said inclusive education was not just a matter of fairness, but also an issue of moral imperative and fundamental human rights and, therefore, commended the NHFB for the care of the children as well as the students for their zeal to learn.
Madam Heike Maus, Chairperson of the Board, German Federal Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation, Deutsches Blindenhilsfswerk (DBHW) of Germany, commended the Director of the Centre and asked parents to take advantage of the Centre to let their children receive the training needed to make life easy for them.
Mr Thomas Moore Zonyrah, the District Chief Executive, Central Tongu, who represented the Volta Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, underscored the need for society to support persons living with disability.