The Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD) in collaboration with the Ghana Deaf Teachers Union (GDTU) has identified the lack od Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs) ,Unfavorable Curriculum among many challengesas major causes of the poor performance of deaf children in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
The two groups made these revelation at a forum for members of the Ghana Deaf Teachers Association.
The objective of the forum was to raise awareness among deaf teachers and deaf pupils about GNAD, GNAD’s advocacy work and to deepen collaboration between the GNAD and Ghana Deaf Teachers Union to advance advocacy and transform deaf education in Ghana.
The forum was held on the 24th and 25th of September 2020 on the theme ” Transforming Deaf education in Ghana: The role of professional Deaf Teachers”
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The forum took the form of an initial presentation by the President of GNAD, Mr. Matthew Kubachua, the Executive Director of GNAD and the National Secretary, Mr. Cosmos Wunkuah.
The president took members of the GDTU through the history of GNAD the advocacy work of the association and the achievements of the association so far and how the participation of GDTU in the advocacy work of the association is important in creating awareness about the identity of deaf children and inspiring confidence among deaf pupils.
The National Secretary also took participants through GNAD’s expectations from the GDTU, their roles in advocacy and how they can help GNAD work to advance deaf people’s most basic human rights.
The forum provided a platform for GNAD/GDTU and other stakeholders to discuss pressing issues related to deaf education and how the education of the deaf can be transformed in Ghana.
Series of panel discussions were held touching on various topics such as disparity in the performance of deaf children compared to hearing children in selected subjects, factors accounting for the poor performance of deaf children in the BECE.
It was observed that though the performance of deaf children in BECE has been considered to below, this is subject-specific and not a general issue and applies to some students instead of general deaf students.
”For example, the performance of deaf pupils in Mathematics have been seen to be of the same standard as that of hearing pupils and in some case even better.”
”Also, the performance of deaf students in some other technical subjects has been seen to be the best. However, overall performance in the English Language is considered low for most deaf pupils.”
The forum concluded that the low performance of deaf pupils in the English Language is not a universal issue to all deaf pupils since some deaf pupils perform equally with hearing pupils and at times even far better. It was however agreed that this group is generally small.
Ghanaian Sign Language
During panellists’ discussions, panellists noted that though limited fluency in Ghanaian Sign Language is a key factor, this was seen to be very minimal.
Factors such as late enrolment in school, limited reading among children, limited parental involvement in the education of deaf children, weak language and vocabulary foundation, unfavourable curriculum, lack of TLM and school management especially the allocation of subjects in schools for teachers all contributed to lower the performance of Deaf pupils in the BECE.
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Performance of deaf pupils
Two hotly discussed topics by panellists was whether in the face of low performance of deaf pupils in theory based subjects, special Examiners and Special Markers of deaf pupils’ examination scripts can address the missing gap.
Also, if the system is to adopt equity, what should it be, how should it be done? These two issues become even more relevant in view of the proposals by some stakeholders, some teachers and also recommendations by some students in their research works.
Also unsettled was whether, in the face of limited vocabulary, the special examiners address the missing link.
The forum identified that the current educational system may not be fair to deaf children especially these who are pre-lingual deaf.
”For example, while hearing children have all the language they need at home from 0-2year, deaf children do not get the same opportunity through no fault of theirs.”
They, therefore, lack the needed language environment. Also, while hearing children start school as early as 1year, deaf children are enrolled only after 4years by which time the stage of language development has passed.”
”Some of the challenges were however seen to be beyond the control of even the most serious parents. For example, most deaf children are identified quite late and even where they are identified early, community perception about disability, doubt from parents all prevent early enrolment in school.”
Stakeholders recommended a review of policy guiding deaf education in Ghana.
The forum calls for age of enrolment to be brought down to 2years with a strong emphasis on language development at the KG level.
The forum also suggests enhanced resources at the KG level with the use of advance technology to build a strong and robust language foundation.
Filed By: BizBigeB
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