The Blind Teachers Association has called on the National Teaching Council (NTC) to consider the special needs of visually impaired teachers and student teachers in the CPD programmes, workshops and the teacher Licensure examination.
According to the association, the development of the visually impaired teacher is a very important key that will unlock the educational challenges in Ghana’s quest to raise learners and workers. It noted that visually impaired teachers whose ideas, actions, attitudes, skills, values, and behaviors would help turn the fortunes of the nation.
“Education is the cornerstone of any nation’s development, and Ghana is no exception… National Teaching Council, NTC should consider the special needs of visually impaired teachers and student teachers in the CPD programmes, workshops and the teacher Licensure examination.”Blind Teachers Association
Furthermore, the association highlighted that investing in the continuous professional development of the visually impaired teacher would enhance the skills and expertise of the visually impaired teacher.
Additionally, it explained that workshops and seminars focused on inclusive teaching methods and assistive technology can significantly benefit both visually impaired educators and learners in general.
As the country strives for progress and prosperity, the association revealed that it is imperative to acknowledge the pivotal role of visually impaired teachers in shaping the educational landscape.
Touching on the significance of visually impaired teachers, the association stated that they play a crucial role in fostering inclusivity within the education system. It further noted that these teachers serve as living examples that disability is not a barrier to achieving academic excellence.
“Their presence encourages an environment where learners with various abilities can learn together, promoting acceptance and respect. Visually impaired teachers possess a unique ability to empathize with learners, understanding their challenges, frustrations, and triumphs on a deeper level. This empathy fosters a supportive learning environment, where learners feel understood and empowered to overcome obstacles.”Blind Teachers Association
Furthermore, the association emphasized that visually impaired educators equally serve as powerful role models for both visually impaired and sighted learners. It stated that they demonstrate that with determination, resilience, and the right support, individuals can achieve their goals and contribute meaningfully to society.
“These teachers bring a wealth of experience in adapting teaching methods and materials to cater to diverse learning needs. Their resourcefulness in utilizing technology and alternative resources provides valuable insights for creating a more inclusive and effective educational system.”Blind Teachers Association
Despite the impact of visually impaired teachers, the association lamented challenges in accessing appropriate teaching materials and technologies. It revealed that limited availability of Braille books, adaptive software, and assistive devices can hinder their effectiveness in the classroom.
“Preconceived notions about the capabilities of visually impaired individuals can lead to discrimination and biases, both within educational institutions and society at large. Overcoming these barriers requires concerted efforts in raising awareness and promoting inclusivity.”Blind Teachers Association
Development of visually impaired teachers
Moreover, the association expressed disappointment in the limited access to specialized training and professional development programs tailored for visually impaired teachers, which can hinder their growth and effectiveness in their roles.
To address the challenges, the association called for policy advocacy and implementation. By this, it underscored the opportunity for Ghana to further recognize and support visually impaired teachers through policy initiatives.
Among other things, the association reckoned it may involve creating specialized training programs, providing accessible teaching resources, and ensuring equal opportunities for career advancement.
“Consequently, the Ghana Education Service, GES should therefore critically consider qualified and competent visually impaired teachers to the positions of headteachers and district directors. Visually impaired educators should also be considered in their promotions and must be contacted before transfers are effected.”Blind Teachers Association
Collaboration with Support Organizations, the group noted, is critical as partnerships between educational institutions and organizations specializing in visual impairment can facilitate the sharing of best practices, resources, and expertise.
It explained that such collaborations can lead to the development of innovative teaching strategies and materials.
Fundamentally, the association emphasized that the role of a visually impaired teacher in Ghanaian education is invaluable, contributing to a more inclusive, empathetic, and innovative learning environment.
By addressing the challenges these teachers face, and seizing opportunities for policy reform and professional development, it highlighted that Ghana can unlock the full potential of visually impaired educators, ultimately enriching the educational experience for all learners.