Towards inclusive education: The sorry state of Cape Coast School for the Deaf, Blind

Persons with Disability (PWDs) have extraordinary talents, strength, character and determination to succeed as explicitly stated by the motto of the Cape Coast School for the Deaf and Blind: ‘Disability is not Inability.’ Mr Abraham Annang Yemoson, the Headmaster of the school, says many PWDs feel neglected and excluded from the opportunities for self improvement and wealth creation, leading to frustration that could plunge them into unwanted lifestyles. ‘Through the collective effort of all, we can improve the lives of young people who are blind or visually impaired under the principles of inclusive education.’ ‘It is the utmost effective way to give all children a fair chance to go to school, learn and develop the skills they need to succeed,’ he told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) during a visit to the school. The school is strategically located between Aggrey Memorial Zion Senior High School and Ghana National College along the Cape Coast-Takoradi Highway. It was established in 1970, with 15 students. Currently it has a population of 454 students. The hearing and visually impaired children of school going age benefit from the formal education it provides, with the latter using braille to read and orientated on mobility among other things, ready to be integrated into mainstream schools. GNA’s observations The Ghana News Agency, on its visit to the school, came face-to-face with the poor and bumpy roads that hindered the free movement of the pupils/students, particularly the visually impaired, which the Headmaster said got worse whenever it rained. ‘Some of our visually impaired students often report injuries because of the nature of our roads as they easily fall,’ he said, weighing down their efforts to empower themselves through education. Electricity challenges The school uses prepaid meters in the classrooms, offices, and dormitories, therefore, whenever it wa incapable to purchase credit, due to financial constraints, the students had to learn under dire circumstances and sleep in darkness. The situation becomes unbearable for the hearing impaired students who rely on light to communicate in sign language. ‘This is pretty serious because they cannot do their assignments during prep time,’ Mr Yemoson said. Another major challenge is the inability of the teachers to use the embosser (printer for the blind) to emboss (print) reading materials for them. Besides, many of the visually impaired students do not have the white canes to guide them to walk, having to struggle to find their way through the environment. Going forward, Mr Yemoson said it would be prudent for the school to be put back to post-paid meters to ensure continuous supply of electricity to enhance teaching and learning. Classrooms/Teaching Aids For infrastructure, many of the school’s buildings had not seen renovations for years as students crammed in the classrooms. The Head teacher said the school needed teaching and learning aids such as laminator, Perkins braille machine, combo binder, packets of binding spiral and cubarism board. Others are packets of pegs and braille sheets, writing slates (frames) stylus, talking calculators, talking books (tape recorders and white canes for orientation). It also needs laptops, headphones, mp3 players, smart phones, smart books, ipads and WiFi to enhance lessons in information and communication technology (ICT). Means of transport The School’s Mitsubishi Truck, locally called ‘bone-shaker’ had broken down beyond repairs. Currently, an old pick-up, old land cruiser and a 35-seater bus are supporting the transportation of students and facilitating administrative duties. Use of wood and charcoal The gas plant of the school broke down more than a decade ago but no solution has been found. The GNA observed that the beautiful green ambience that surrounds the school may be lost due to deforestation as the kitchen staff resort to cutting of trees for firewood to cook. Mr Yemoson said the wood burning pollutes the environment, while exposing the kitchen staff to asthma, chronic bronchitis, increased cancer risk, reduced immune function, and heart diseases. ‘We’re gradually losing the green scenery, and that’s very worrying,’ he noted. Delayed Subvention Mr Yemoson expressed worry over the long delays in the receipt of subvention and called on the Government to fast track its payment to facilitate quality care for the students. He appealed to individuals and corporate institutions to support the visually impaired pupils/students with learning materials to enhance their studies. International cultural troupe On the brighter side of life, the institution has an enviable cultural troupe that meets international standards, which has toured most parts of the country to perform. It is on record to have been the only troupe allowed to perform during the visit of President Bill Clinton of the United States of America. Conclusion Mr Yemoson pledged to galvanise all resources, human or otherwise, to ‘mend the broken bridges’. He said with strong optimism, support by stakeholders, and dedication to duty all the problems of the school would be confronted head-on for quality education and care.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Airlines join forces, urge courts to safeguard the future of Schiphol Airport

The KLM Group, Delta Air Lines, Corendon, easyJet and TUI are joining forces to take summary proceedings against the Dutch government in a bid to keep the Netherlands connected to the rest of the world via Schiphol Airport. A press release issued by KCC, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, in Accra, said the airlines were challenging the government’s unilateral decision to significantly cut flight movements at Schiphol, confident they could reduce noise levels and CO2 emissions, while maintaining a network of destinations for the millions of passengers and tonnes of cargo they carried annually to and from Schiphol. ‘Schiphol Airport makes a significant contribution to the Dutch economy by directly and indirectly providing more than a hundred thousand jobs,’ the release said. ‘Every year, millions of people who across the Netherlands use the airport for business trips, vacations, family visits or studies, while the airport’s international network makes it attractive to foreign companies looking to establish themselves in the Netherlands.’ The airlines held that the Dutch government’s unilateral and sudden decision to reduce Schiphol’s capacity from 500,000 to 460,000 flight annual movements (with the ultimate goal of reducing flight movements to 440,000 by 2024) was incomprehensible. ‘The airlines have already made multi-billion euros investments to meet near- and long-term goals in line with their own decarbonization trajectories as well as government policies, while the government’s justification hinges on operational restrictions with no consideration of alternative workable solutions to effect noise reduction.’ In addition to negatively impacting the Dutch economy, the capacity reduction would significantly reduce travel options and connectivity for consumers, it said. The airlines said: ‘Along with violating national, European and international legislation, the decision is unnecessary, damaging and lacks proper substantiation, given the airline industry is already achieving significant results in relation to reducing CO2 emissions and lowering noise levels. ‘For these reasons, KLM, KLM Cityhopper, Martinair, Transavia – all part of Air France-KLM Group – as well as Corendon, Delta Air Lines, easyJet and TUI are urging the courts to safeguard the future capacity of Schiphol Airport. ‘The KLM Group, which accounts for close to 60% of traffic at Schiphol, initiated this legal action in line with parent company Air France-KLM Group’s position on the matter. ‘Additionally, industry association BARIN has indicated its full support for this initiative.’ The initiative, the release said, was also fully supported by industry associations Airlines for Europe (A4E) and the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) because the capacity reduction at Schiphol had major implications for the EU’s single aviation market. ‘In a further move, industry association IATA and a number of airlines will also be going to court to initiate proceedings against the Dutch government. ‘Management of the Airlines each released a statement with a firm resolve to take action.’ In an announcement by Marjan Rintel, President and CEO of KLM, he stated: ‘We are embracing the targets set for reducing noise levels and CO2 emissions, investing billions in fleet renewal and SAF procurement that will ultimately supersede these targets while maintaining our network that serves 170 destinations worldwide. ‘This is good news for the millions of people who fly from the Netherlands with KLM every year whether for business or leisure and for the cargo industry. As the government appears not to hear our call, unfortunately we find ourselves compelled to take legal action.’ For his part, Delta Air Lines’ Executive Vice President External Affairs Peter Carter noted:’Delta is committed to ambitious sustainability targets and wants to work collaboratively to meet these goals. We firmly believe that it is possible and, indeed, necessary to properly balance sustainability priorities with economic and wider societal interests. ‘We strongly object to capacity reductions at Schiphol Airport and remain actively focused on investing in our fleet renewal and modernization program as the most effective way forward to mitigate noise and environmental concerns.’ General Manager TUI Netherlands Arjan Kers disclosed: ‘The proposed measures will negatively limit Dutch travelers’ options. That is why TUI wholeheartedly supports this action. The measures are contrary to (European) regulations and government policies that have been in place for years and do not reward the efforts that have been and are being made by airlines to reduce noise and emissions.’ CEO Corendon Steven van der Heijden added his voice by issuing another statement that said: ‘Emphatic focus on rapid fleet renewal will reduce noise levels and emissions in the short term far more effectively than imposing limits on capacity, which will only serve to put pressure on network connections and holiday flights, driving passengers across the border.’ CEO Transavia Marcel de Nooijer on behalf of his company announced: ‘Transavia finds itself compelled to join the summary proceedings against the reduction of capacity at Schiphol to 460,000 flight movements. As a company, we have made an important decision to investment billions in a cleaner, more fuel-efficient and quieter fleet, so that we can continue to offer our passengers a pleasant trip to beautiful destinations. Reducing the number of flights does not provide a solution and will not have the desired effect for local residents and the environment.’ The Country Manager of easyJet, William Vet also declared: ‘By choosing to pursue an arbitrary flight cap the Dutch government totally disregards both the efforts made by the industry to decarbonise as well as the socio-economic benefits of aviation, significantly reducing connectivity. easyJet is taking important steps towards the decarbonisation of our operations, having recently published our roadmap to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, which includes a combination of operational efficiencies, fleet renewal, and other elements like airspace modernisation.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

Jhaybhanks set to release first single dubbed ‘Abandoned Son’

Upcoming artiste, Bennett Bright popularly known as Jhaybhanks in the music industry is all set to release his first single for the year 2023 titled ‘Abandoned Son’ on March 20th. The single was produced by DJ Titan. In an interview with the Ghana News Agency Tema Entertainment Desk, the hip-hop singer said the song was heart-touching focusing on his life experiences – the hard lessons of life. He said the song seeks to offer inspiration to others and encourage others going through difficult times, never to give up in life because it takes God’s blessings, hard work, and perseverance to break through in life. When asked about his motivation, he explained that his music encourages him to thrive harder. ‘In life, one must learn to focus on things that motivate him or her, and sometimes try to inspire others to move on during difficult times. ‘Am coming out with this record to serve as a positive vibe for the struggling guys and this record is dedicated to my fans’. The hip-hop artiste, who started his music journey in 2021 said behind the scene, ‘I have been working so hard to make an impact in not only the Ghanaian music industry but goes across the world’. Jhaybhanks promised to give fans back-to-back bangers this year as part of his new year resolution. He highlighted that the song will be streamed on Audiomack and SoundCloud only. The upcoming artiste urged his colleague artiste to keep doing what is good and that it will end successfully for them and should keep on working hard and strive for excellence.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Nkwanta South to host Oti Regional 66th Independence Day celebration

The Nkwanta South Municipality would host the Oti region’s version of Ghana’s 66th Independence Day celebration slated for Monday at the regional level. Theme for this year’s celebration, ‘Our Unity. Our Strength. Our Purpose.’ Mr Bright K. Lenwah the Nkwanta South Municipal Chief Executive stated in an interview with Ghana News Agency that all was set for the Independence Day celebration at Nkwanta with the support of Regional Coordinating Council (ORCC), schools, other institutions such as security services, individuals with Mr Joshua Makubu, Regional Minister expected to take the salute for President Akufo-Addo. He explained that an inspection team from the ORCC was fine-tuning the organisation of the event which included the venue for the celebration to host 15 schools and other identifiable organisations. Mr Solomon Sarpong Bagme, Headmaster of Nkwanta Senior High Secondary School, the host school for the 2023 regional Independence Day celebration in the Oti region said they are ready for the occasion because, the field has been cleared by the students and all arrangements has been done with support of the school management Board.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Hajia4Real not on trial – Management debunks 10-year jail term rumours

The Management of Mona Faiz Montrage popularly known as Mona 4real or Hajia 4Real has debunked news circulating on social media over the songstress’ supposed 10-year jail term. In the course of the week, fans woke up to several headlines about the extradition and 10-year jail sentence of Mona 4real in the USA over a fraud case. The rumours across various social media platforms also alleged that the daughter of the songstress had been taken by the USA government. However, the management of the songstress has issued a press statement debunking all allegations and news circulating on the internet. In the statement, the management described such publications as false news. ‘Our attention has been drawn to publications making rounds on social media and news portals of the conviction and 10-year jail sentence of Mona Faiz Montrage and the current detention of her daughter; a minor, by the US authorities. ‘We would like to state categorically that the said reports are false,’ the statement said. It further added that the songstress was currently in the United Kingdom. The management says there has not been any trial nor conviction in either the USA or UK. According to the management also, Mona 4real has not been extradited to US and her daughter has neither been taken by the US authorities. The management however urges fans and the general public to disregard any publications that were made concerning the songstress and ther family.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ghana marks 66th Independence Day Monday; Ho ready to rekindle nostalgia

The euphoria that greeted the Black Star Square on the eve of Ghana’s Independence in 1957 is being revisited in the Ho Municipality as the Volta Region gears up to host the 66th Independence Day Celebration on March 6, 2023. Since the launch of the Celebration last month, the Volta Regional Coordinating Council has been working feverishly to put the necessary arrangements in place to make this year’s celebration memorable. This year’s event, which will be held at the Youth Resource Centre at Ho, is on the theme: ‘Our Unity, Our Strength, Our Purpose’. President Umaro Sissoco Embal√≥ of Guinea Bissau, who is also the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), will be the Special Guest of Honour. More than 5,000 people from across the country, including members of the diplomatic corps, the clergy, traditional rulers and other dignitaries are expected to touch down in the Municipality to participate in the event. In 2017, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo decided the independence celebration be held on rotational basis to open each of the 16 regions of Ghana to the world to boost the local economy. It will be the first time that the Volta Region will be hosting the national independence parade, which commemorates the day Ghana formally weaned itself from British colonial rule. A total of 22 contingents from the various security agencies and 12 from the various schools in the Volta Region would be on parade, aside other performances. The 66 Artillery Regiment in Ho is in charge to lead preparations for the march past. As of Saturday, March 4, 2023, many hotels in the Ho Municipality were reported to have been fully booked – with some even booked a week earlier. All roads leading to the Ho Municipality as well as the principal streets of Ho had been decorated with Ghana flag, with several workplaces also draping their buildings in Ghana colours (red, yellow, green) to mark the occasion. Ho township roads as well the Atimpoku-Ho road are being fixed. The streetlights on the road leading to the Youth Resource Centre at Adaklu have also been fixed. The indigenes outside Ho, local and foreign tourists are already pouring in on Ho, which is christened ‘Ghana’s Oxygen City.’ Police armoured vehicles and armed personnel of the various security agencies have been positioned at various intersections and vantage points to ensure law and order. On 6th March, 1957, Ghana gained independence after 83 years of British colonial rule – becoming the first sub-Saharan African country to achieve independence from Britain. The country’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah declared Ghana as ‘free forever’ from colonial rule, marking a historic turning point in the governance of the country. Since that day, every March 6 is celebrated across the country and among Ghanaians abroad with various activities, some of which are observed throughout the month of March.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Christian Atsu to be laid to rest on March 17

The Family of the late Black Stars player Christian Atsu Twasam has set Friday, March 17, for the funeral of the player at the Forecourt of the State House in Accra.? The date was announced on Saturday, March 4, during the one-week observance at the Adjirigano Astroturf in Accra.? The entire cost of the funeral would be borne by the Government of Ghana. The one-week observance saw officials from the Ministry of Youth and Sports led by Mr. Mustapha Ussif, and officials from the Ghana Football Association (GFA) including the President Mr. Kurt E.S Okraku, Prosper Harrison Addo to support and show their love to the departed player.? Also at the venue were former GFA President Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi, former Black Stars coach James Kwesi Appiah, members of the supporters union, former GFA Vice President George Afriyie, Mr. Allan Kyeremanten the aspiring flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party, and Christian Atsu’s local manager Mr. Hayye Yartey.? There was drumming amidst singing from the supporter’s union and in an interaction with the GNA Sports, some of the members described Atsu as a player who was accommodating and generous.? Christian Atsu, 31, met his untimely death during the dreadful earthquake that hit Southern Trkiye and parts of Syria on Monday, February 6.? He played for top clubs including Chelsea FC, Everton, and Newcastle, with Turkish Hatayspor FC the last club he played for before his demise.? At the national level, he played 65 times for the senior national team with 10 goals and nine assists.?

Source: Ghana News Agency

Police Dispatch Rider crashes to death at Osino

General Lance Corporal Rauf Iddrisu, from the National Police Headquarters Transport Unit, on Friday, March 3, 2023, died at Osino in the Eastern Region in a road crash. The late General Lance Corporal Rauf, who was riding a Honda motorbike with the registration number GP4710, was leading a convoy from Accra towards Kumasi when he crashed with a VIP bus, travelling the opposite direction. A police circular on social media said on March 03, 2023 at about 1530 hours, suspect driver Samuel Boateng aged 44, was in charge of Kia Grandbird VIP bus with registration number GW 9944-10 with Passengers on board from Kumasi towards Accra. It said on reaching a section of the road close to the Osino Police station on the Accra-Kumasi highway, he failed to observe traffic ahead and in the process, crashed head-on with staff Number 49200 G/L/CPL Rauf Addrisu from Headquarters Transport who was riding Honda motorcycle with the registration number GP 4710, leading a convoy from Accra towards Kumasi direction. It said the victim died on the spot and the body had been conveyed and deposited at Enyirise Government Hospital. It said the accident vehicle had been sent to Anyinam Accident Square for safe keeping and testing whilst the suspect driver had been detained at Anyinam Police station.

Source: Ghana News Agency