Regional News of Friday, 12 August 2011
Source: David Apinga
The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) will soon establish a scholarship scheme to enable physically challenged persons to pursue higher education in the university starting from the 2012 – 2013 academic year.
Addressing participants at the 2nd National Disability Conference being hosted by the Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies (CEDRES) of the university, the Vice Chancellor of KNUST, Prof. William Otoo Ellis, acknowledged the importance of knowledge and education which he believes are very crucial in the lives of physically challenged persons.
“It is even more important at this time when we live in a global knowledge economy, to move from where we are and start looking forward and also empowering each and every one especially people with disabilities in the area of knowledge acquisition and education”, the university administrator noted.
The 4 – day conference is themed: “Breaking the Barriers for the inclusion of Persons with Disability in National Development,” and also accompanied by exhibitions of various products from physically challenged individuals including paintings, medicinal products and fabrics.
Touched by the experiences shared by some participants, the Biochemistry Professor urged stakeholders especially government and educational institutions to be innovative and creative in producing initiatives that will address the issues relating to mechanisms that will break the barriers these physically challenged people face to make the system uniform for all citizens of the country.
The Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies which has been in existence at the KNUST was commissioned in December, 2010.
Presenting a progress report on activities of the centre, the Dean of the School of Medical Sciences, Prof. Kwabena Antwi Danso disclosed that the centre is modestly equipped to provide the needed assistance for the training of a new crop of postgraduates as well as serving as a resource centre for health professionals and identified actors in disability and rehabilitation.
According to the Dean, the establishment of the centre has now paved way for KNUST to admit and assist the blind and visually impaired students to pursue academic programmes in the university.
Currently, twenty (20) students have been admitted into the masters programme (MSc. in Disability, Rehabilitation and Development) for the year 2011. Fifty (50) students are also expected to be admitted into the undergraduate programme (BSc. in Disability and Rehabilitation Studies) for the next academic year to start this August, if accredited by the National Accreditation Board.
Prof. Danso also recommended to the relevant ministries to work in partnership with CEDRES for the establishment of training programmes in all the Districts in the country.
By David Apinga, Focus FM, KNUST, Kumasi firstname.lastname@example.org