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Teresa Menka

Quality inclusive education in Ghana

Improving education for girls and children with disabilities

The Government of Ghana spends over 25% of its annual national budget on education. Yet research suggests that the education and learning outcomes for Ghanaian children are among the worst in the world.

Before receiving his tricycle, Kuruk’s disability made it very hard for him to get to school. Kuruk’s school - Presentation Primary School, in Nabdam district, Northern Ghana has also been made accessible through the addition of ramps.

Before receiving his tricycle, Kuruk’s disability made it very hard for him to get to school.  Kuruk’s school - Presentation Primary School, in Nabdam district, Northern Ghana has also been made accessible through the addition of ramps. 

Less than 25% of Ghana’s primary class 6 children are able to read and attain basic literacy skills after six years of public schooling. Girls and children with disabilities face particular disadvantage – many don’t attend school at all, or drop out before completing their education.

VSO Ghana's inclusive education programme is designed to raise the quality of learning outcomes for the most disadvantaged and marginalised children.

Tackling Education Needs Inclusively (TENI) project

Volunteer Mary Loureth Carnable at Gaare Gbani School Northern Ghana Teresa Menka

"Attitudes will pave a great way for children with disabilities to be accepted in schools. I see the teachers now more open to receiving children with disabilities It feels like my stay here in Ghana has been worth it"


Mary Loureth Carnable, VSO Education Volunteer

Since 2009, with the support of Comic Relief, we have worked with the Ghana Education Service, NGO partners and national and international volunteers to improve inclusive education – helping girls and disabled children to access and succeed in education.

Through community outreach, training and providing resources in 5 districts in the north of Ghana, we have:

  • Increased gross primary enrolment in TENI communities by 18% in 5 years.
  • Built the confidence of 12,000 girls to break down barriers to their own education through girls’ clubs.
  • Supported 2,400 disabled pupils to access school by changing community and family perceptions.
  • Trained teachers in over 300 schools to adopt more child-centric teaching methods that increase pupils’ interest in learning.
  • Raised awareness of inclusive education, influencing both community approaches and national policy.
  • Through 2017-18, 79% of children with disabilities reached through TENI continued at school, progressing from one year through to the next.
  • 'Girl's Clubs' - a section of the TENI project focussing on supportinng vulnerable girls to stay in education now works across 60 schools, supporting over 4,800 girls

We have worked with VSO over the last ten years, helping to identify [vulnerable] children. They’ve supported us with materials and with human resources. VSO education volunteers are experts in special needs. We are rolling out the models they have taught us.

Joachim Faara,  Director of Ghana Education Service, Talensi district

Teacher Empowerment through Support and Technology (TEST) project

Michael Neebaza teaching with new technology Faye Goldman

Teacher Michael Neebaza in class using new technology

With the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and in partnership with Open Learning Exchange Ghana, we piloted an online and technological resources that has improved teaching quality and learner outcomes, particularly related to reading.

240 teachers from 20 schools have been given the chance to use a newly developed online platform that enables them to improve their teaching skills by providing resources, support and peer discussion groups. The schools have also received tablets, projectors, speakers and low-cost servers.

Through online and face-to-face training, teachers will be empowered to use technology to make learning accessible, fun and effective for their pupils.

Through 2016-17 achievements included:

  • Increased retention of vulnerable girls from 50% to 90% throughout the school terms.
  • 4,800 pupils from 20 schools improved their ability to pronounce letter sounds, identify unfamiliar words and reading fluency
  • 90% of the teachers in the 20 schools gained new skills in lesson preparation and participatory teaching of phonics and are applying them in teaching.
  • An online community has been created together with the setting up of an online ‘counselling room’ where teachers share with each other and get support from subject experts and counsellors.

With the portal, anytime I have a problem with my work, I can ask them, or I can share things that I have found useful on the portal to help others. I think TEST makes teaching easier and more interesting.

Mariama Yussif, teacher at St Thomas Aquinas Primary School in Talensi, Ghana

Case studies from Inclusive Education work in Ghana

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