According to a report by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), the number of children with disabilities in Ghanaian schools remains “very low”.

The report on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) said that between 2017 and 2021, children accounted for about 0.2 percent to 0.4 percent of the total number of children from kindergarten to senior secondary school (SHS).

“Children with disabilities have lower enrollment rates compared to children without disabilities at all levels of pre-primary education, especially at SHS and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) levels.

“In general, children with disabilities are underachieving in the education system, and a significant proportion of them are at an advanced age,” the report by the Voluntary National Review (VNR) states.

A document presented at the UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) in July this year showcased the country’s successes, challenges and lessons learned in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Goal 4 of the 17 SDGs on quality education requires UN member states to ensure inclusive and equitable education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

The VNR report analyzed the coverage of children with disabilities under Ghana’s 2015 Inclusive Education Policy, which “promotes an approach that ensures the attendance of all children in schools ‘regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic and other conditions.’

“This includes children with disabilities; gifted, street and working children; children from remote or nomadic population groups; children from linguistic, ethnic, gender or cultural minorities; and children from other disadvantaged or marginalized areas or groups.’

As for the factors responsible for the low level of education, the report mentions inadequate facilities for the disabled in basic and secondary schools, which negatively affects children with disabilities.

It said most regular basic schools lack handrails, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities for the disabled, while only eight percent are equipped with ramps.

As a result, the report says, there are significant gaps in learning outcomes in reading, writing and mathematics for students with and without disabilities.

“These differences are particularly noticeable for Ghanaian language writing and mathematics. This subsector is also severely underfunded.