The president of the Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD), Mr Emmanuel Sackey, has called on the government to provide sign language interpreters for all deaf students at the tertiary level in the country.
This he said would enable them have the same benefit as their hearing counterpart students at the institutions.
Mr Sackey said this at a deaf education seminar organised by GNAD in Accra yesterday to find solution to the issues facing the deaf in the various tertiary institutions.
He said though it is their legitimate right to access public places and be provided with facilities that would ensure equal opportunities for them, and said they lack access and are unable to participate equally in mainstream activities in the country.
According to him, deaf students in teacher training colleges, polytechnics and some universities pay a minimum of GH 20 cedis per semester for the cost of sign language interpretation services from their own pockets for the same course and duration like their hearing counterparts who pay nothing.
“This is very unfair, unfortunate and a gross abuse of rights as guaranteed by the constitution in article 25 of the disability Act 715,” he added.
He indicated that the country could not attain the middle income level status without involving people with disability especially the deaf.
However participants at the seminar suggested that there should be quota for people with disability so that many of them could be enrolled in school.
It also came out that the National Accreditation Board (ACB) should only give accreditation to tertiary institutions with the centre for disability especially the deaf, adding that “some institutions have centers for the disability but without considering the deaf”.
They appealed to the Ministry for Education to have various salary grade levels at which sign language interpreters are recruit so that they can be motivated to help the deaf.
They also appealed that there should be institutions to train sign language interpreters who would be posted to schools like any other trained teacher.
Ms Rosemond Ndama Blay, the Director for Special Education Division at the Ghana Education Service (GES) said the GES provides sign language interpreters for pupils at the pre-tertiary level, but could not provide for the tertiary level since they do their own recruitment.
She suggested that GNAD should appeal to the Ministry of Education and the National Counsel Board for Tertiary Institutions for their issues to be addressed.