The impact of education in shaping lives: reflections of young people with disabilities in Ghana
International Journal of Inclusive Education
There is increasing recognition on the importance of focusing on people with disabilities in international efforts aimed at poverty alleviation. While universal education has been central to these efforts, the specific and additional needs of children with disabilities are often overlooked in policies and programmes. In order to gain a nuanced appreciation of the lives of young people with disabilities in a Ghanaian context, this paper draws on research conducted with young people with
... eople with disabilities and their significant others in order to understand their educational journeys, employment prospects and perceptions of those around them. In addition to collecting primary data, the latest policy documents related to disability, education and employment are reviewed and statistical analysis undertaken based on the Housing and Population Census 2010. Our research highlights the barriers facing those with disability in accessing quality education. While education was recognised as paramount to leading a better life and participants noted benefits beyond employment such as gaining self-sufficiency and social benefits, unequal educational opportunities underpin some of the reasons for the widening of gaps between those with disabilities and their non-disabled counterparts. Furthermore, while education was seen as important for gaining employment, this was not the case in reality, as young people faced difficulties due to both physical and attitudinal barriers limiting their opportunities for economic and social participation in their communities. The paper concludes by noting that systematic changes in the policy arena are needed to enable youth with disabilities to take their rightful place in mainstream society.