The School Prefect of Wa Methodist School for the Blind, Leticia(not her full name), has called on government and other stakeholders to support the school with the provision of reading books in enhancing their studies.
According to her, most of the students are academically weak and unable to express themselves well in the English language due to the absence of a library to facilitate their reading and learning capabilities. This renders the students who are mostly blind and partially sighted to feel discriminated in the society, and thus, appealing to the government to put extra efforts in helping their integration into the society.
“I want government to provide us with books. We don’t have enough reading books, and because of that, a great number of students do not speak correct English. Most students are academically weak and the environment is not blind friendly; there are gully erosion all around and our friends are always falling and hurting themselves. Therefore, I plead with the government to come to our aid,” she mentioned.
The school prefect unveiled this in a brief speech when Unilime Foundation, an NGO committed to humanitarian activities paid a visit to the school to organize a Mentorship programme for the students, as part of the 6th Annual Community Outreach, which was collaborated with the Member of Parliament for Wa Central Constituency, Hon. Abdul-Rashid Hassan Pelpuo.
The situation, according to her, has become so chaotic and appalling that the pupils/students, who are visually impaired, are unable to locate their seats because of the makeshifts and congestion.
In an interview with Change Agent Media, management explained that the school is in crisis, and appealed to government, corporations, NGOs, philanthropists and individuals to apply leverage with the curious and zealous, but visually-impaired youth and resuscitate effective teaching and learning in the school.
The vocational programme, which prepares pupils to acquire livelihood skills and earn a living, even when they fail to continue with their education, is also malfunctioning due to insufficient materials and equipment.
Again, they disclosed that there are no proper desks for the students and the environment is not disability friendly.
“The furniture we have is not blind friendly, and most of the students fall and get wounded. Some parents come and dump their children here, and that is all, you will not hear from them again. When they are sick, it is a problem because the school has to release the small capital grant to take them to the hospital for medical care. Therefore, we need government to come to our aid and address some of these numerous challenges,” the Assistant Headmaster noted.
According to him, in spite of these constraints, management is making their best efforts to prepare students for academic and functional success, with a special focus on an Expanded Core Curriculum Skills such as orientation and mobility, dressing, toileting, feeding, social interaction, assistive technology and sensory skills.
Touring the school, the team noticed there is no library facility, therefore students are appealing to the government and philanthropists to provide them with braille materials and an embosser to print textbooks for visually impaired students and ultimately enhance their studies.
Speaking to a staff member, Mr. Charles ( not his full name) said, “The students have a bright future, but coming from poor parents who are barely able to take care of them, and who do not even value their education, more support is needed from the government, civil society organisations and individuals to meet, at least, the minimal operational requirements of the school. These pupils have won many medals in inter-school competitions.”
The Wa Methodist School for the Blind, the only institution of its kind, serving the three northern regions and other communities across the country, is in a deplorable state.
Established in 1958 by the Methodist Church – Ghana, the school’s mission is to prepare and equip children with special needs from the kindergarten to post – Junior Secondary School with the requisite academic, socio-economic and moral training necessary for self-reliance. It has a kindergarten, primary, junior secondary, multi-handicap and vocational departments.