Some students have called for a dismissal of the perception that children with disability are a societal threat. The students say that children with disability have hidden talents that could be explored for national development, therefore they need to be equally handled, especially in schools.
The students raised these concerns at day’s forum Dubbed: Using children’s literature to foster inclusivity in Basic Schools. The forum was organised by the Basic and Special Education Departments of the University of Education Winneba (UEW), for students in the two departments and other students selected from basic schools in Winneba.
Professor Tierce Ruffin, a Literature Lecturer at the Special Education Department, UEW and Ms. Vivian Acquaye, Lecturer at the Basic Education Department, UEW organised the programme.
It was aimed at sensitising the participants to use children’s literature as a tool for facilitating inclusive educational environments.
Professor Tierce Ruffin, who is also an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina in the U.S.A said globally, human rights movements have focused on integrating children and youth with disabilities in “regular” schools and classrooms under the auspices of inclusive education.
Children and youth with disabilities must be well integrated into the mainstream educational policy and delivery system, with deliberate and concerted effort to enhance their varying disabilities by creating a conducive educational environment and experience for them.
Ms Acquaye, speaking on Children’s Literature and its importance, said writers of literature have the gift of observing and then expressing in words the experiences of people.
This confirms that literary writing about a group of people portrays their way of life and their imaginations, all of which, to a large extent, form the basis for creativity and discovery, and culminate into real achievements.
She said children’s literature, therefore, become a pool of experiences from which children learn about themselves and others just like them.
“Children’s literature serves multiple purposes of introducing children to their past, present and the future by equipping them with the creativity necessary to imagine to contribute to their total development, as well as those of others,” she said.
Dr. Anthony Mensah, a Senior Lecturer at the Special Education Department of UEW who chaired the event, commended the initiators of the programme, saying children’s literature has great impact on their lifestyle.
He said using literature plays a lasting unique role in the minds of the children and expressed optimism that the teachers would use the knowledge they had acquired to impact the lives of children to contribute positively in the society.
Children’s Literature books were donated by the organisers to the Unipra South Inclusive School in Winneba.