The Garden City Special School in the Asokore Mampong Municipality of the Ashanti region has celebrated its 40th anniversary with an outreach to engender more social empathy for children with mental and intellectual deficiencies.
Built in April 1977, The Garden City Special School is one of the few special schools in Ghana which admits students with autism, cerebral palsy and other neurological conditions
The school currently has some two hundred intellectually disabled students being taken through life skills, social and vocational training aimed at making them economically independent and useful to society.
The 40 year anniversary saw the student put up splendid poetry, drama and recitations to drum home the need for the society to be concerned about children with intellectual deficiencies.
National Director of the special education division of the Ghana Education Service Madam Amina Akyeaw who was impressed with the exhibits told Ultimate News there is a comprehensive inclusive education policy to draw up a formal curricular for special schools.
She explained, “we went round to look at their exhibition and the children themselves have been able to make beeds and produced a whole lot of things by their own abilities. We have seen need to also develop a curriculum that will be suitable for adapting to their special pace of learning and their special needs. We just want to make the management and delivery of education more responsive to the diverse needs of every child especially children with disability in the Garden City Special School.”
Parents who attended the anniversary took the opportunity to share their stories bearing and taking care of children with mental challenges and the challenges of stigma associated with it.
Director of the Garden City Special School Dr Roslyn Agyapong indicated that though the school has thrived all these 40 years, there is dire need for more infrastructure and staff to accommodate the growing numbers.
She told Ultimate News’ Ivan Heathcote – Fumador, “For these forty years, we have we have the same classrooms meanwhile the children are increasing and being brought in everyday seeking admission and there is no place to put them especially the girls.”
Making an appeal she beckoned, “We are asking Ghanaians, the Ashanti region, everybody to come and help us. We have plenty of land and we need new classroom blocks; new classroom blocks goes with new dormitories; new dormitories will have to bring in new staff to stay on the compound so new staff quarters; we need special educators to be well resourced to be able to even assist in this inclusive education system that we are implementing,”
The oldest serving teacher who has been with the Garden City Special School in its entire forty years Madam Georgina Asare was rewarded alongside other well serving teaching and non teaching staff for their service to the school
Sharing her motivation for opting to spend all her life taking care of children with mental challenges, Madam Georgina Asare recounted “There is so much blessing taking care of these children. I am always happy with them because if you get close to them you realize there is something good in them. They will call from any distance whenever they see me. Some Drool and people don’t want to come close to them but we feed them, bathe them and take care of them. iI have a child who grew up here on the campus and has finished university. It has been a blessing to me.”
The 40th anniversary was held on the theme, “40 years of managing individuals with intellectual disability; the past present and the way forward.”