Ghartey Hall Contributes to UEW’s Commitment to Actualising Total Inclusion
Management of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) on Friday, 30th April, 2021, commissioned a friendly walkway for persons with special needs at Ghartey Hall Block ‘B’, South Campus, Winneba.
The commissioning of this project is in partial fulfillment of the University’s core value of inclusion, a demonstration of UEW’s determination to actualising its commitment to total inclusion and the realisation of its vision of becoming an internationally reputable institution for teacher education and research.
A special needs student being ushered down the newly commissioned walkway
The friendly walkway also fits well into theme five of the University’s Corporate Strategic Plan which seeks to enhance access, equity and inclusion for the underprivileged, the marginalised, and persons with special needs.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Andy Ofori-Birikorang, in a speech delivered on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni, bemoaned the attitude of many people in the country who normally engage in “include to exclude”.
“Prof. Hayford talked about the fact that at the end of the day people who are pulling their bags, tired people, people who have all kinds of problems will also be using the friendly walkway. There will be times that you will come and students will congregate around the facility and then lean on the railings so that when the persons who need it are passing by, they will even forget that such persons exist. That is what we call including to exclude; so that at the end of the day such persons for whom the facility is built would even have to plead with these powerful elements to access the walkway,” he stressed.
Prof. Ofori-Birikorang, speaking on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni
Prof. Ofori-Birikorang charged guests to consciously address the idea of including persons with special needs not as an afterthought. “It is important that we think about key persons who are marginalised. I am very particular about women because even though women constitute a higher percentage of our population (51%), they are marginalised as if to let them know that even though they may be in the majority, they are marginalised.”
The Dean, Faculty of Educational Studies, Prof. Samuel Abeiku Hayford, on his part, indicated that the facility would not only be useful to persons with special needs but also all and sundry on campus.
Dean of Faculty, Prof. Samuel Abeiku Hayford showing his pleasure about the facility
He expressed his excitement for being part of the initiative adding, “it only comes from those who are visionary, transformative and progressive. People who understand humanity because many were the times we proposed some of these things but were ignored. So, if we now have one, I think it is the genesis of many of such facilities to be witnessed in our institution. This potentially can lead to our institution being ranked among the highest across the world”.
The Deputy Registrar, Office of the Registrar, Dr. (Mrs.) Hagar Bampo-Addo, who welcomed guests on behalf of the Registrar, Surv. Paul Osei-Barima Esq., stated that access to public buildings in Higher Education (HE) institutions is the basic right of all admitted students including persons with special needs.
Dr. (Mrs.) Hagar Bampo-Addo
“Such an environment entails access inside the buildings, near the building, on local roads and paths and in open spaces and recreational areas. It is, therefore, critical for public buildings in universities like the University of Education, Winneba to be easily accessible and free from every barrier that would enable both physically able and those with special needs to access facilities with ease,” she noted.
The 2019/2020 Junior Common Room Council (JCRC) President, Mr. Vincent Kuta Essien briefed the gathering on the background to the project.
Also in attendance to grace, the occasion were the University Chaplain, Rev. Dr. Alexander Edwards; Dean, Student Affairs, Prof. Ernest Kwasi Amponsah; Head, Department of Special Education (SPED), Dr. Daniel Dogbe; Ghartey Hall Manageress, Dr. (Mrs.) Patricia Ananga; Sister Hall Managers/Manageress, Heads of Department and Lecturers from the Special Education Department.
Dr. (Mrs.) Patricia Ananga, Manageress, Ghartey Hall
Some invited guests at the ceremony