A five-member research team undertaking a project entitled “The Early Education for Young Deaf Children and their Caregivers in Ghana” has organised an impact workshop on the research project for stakeholders at the Windy-Bay Guest House in Winneba.
The project seeks to build an understanding of the socio-cultural and resource dynamics surrounding young deaf children and their caregivers in Ghana where early childhood development and inclusive education for all is a priority. It also aims to improve opportunities for quality Early Childhood Development (ECD), care and pre-primary education that helps young deaf children in Ghana progress through early childhood developmentally in terms of language, communication, learning, and psychosocial well-being.
The research project is a collaboration between the University of Leeds, United Kingdom (UK) and the Department of Special Education (SPED) under the Faculty of Educational Studies of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), Ghana and is funded by the British Academy’s Early Childhood Education Programme, supported under the Global Challenges Research Fund.
The project team is made up of Principal Investigator, School of Education, University of Leeds, Prof. Ruth Swanwick; Co-investigators, SPED, Dr. Alexander Mills Oppong and Dr. Yaw Nyadu Offei; Project Support and lead on engagement with the UK and Ghana stakeholders, Dr. Daniel Fobi; and Dr. Jackie Salter, supporting the development of evidence-based early training and resources.
Project team from (top L-R); Principal Investigator, Prof. Ruth Swanwick, Dr. Alexander Mills Oppong, Dr. Daniel Fobi and Dr. Yaw Nyadu Offei
The Head, Department of Basic Education, UEW, Prof. Sakina Acquah, who chaired the workshop on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor of UEW, Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni, in her address, emphasised the need for institutions of higher learning to conduct cutting-edge researches into the area of deafness and to reduce its impact as much as possible.
“Childhood deafness has a debilitating effect on individual lives, growth and well-being, and impacts negatively on those responsible for their upkeep. The objective of the project, that is, to support the development of early educational programming for young deaf children and their caregivers in Ghana is apt and echoes Management’s agenda to facilitate the provision of education for all children including those with special needs,” she remarked.
Prof. Acquah attests to the fact that the University of Education, Winneba takes issues on persons living with disabilities seriously in an address
Prof. Sakina Acquah asserted that issues of persons living with disabilities are high on the agenda of the UEW and that Management takes such issues very seriously. She expressed joy over the collaboration between the Department of Special Education and the University of Leeds to conduct the research.
“Indeed the mission of the University is to train competent professional teachers for all levels of education as well as to conduct research, disseminate knowledge and contribute to educational policy and development. This is best done when there is substantial cutting-edge research evidence. Management is, therefore, interested in partnering with organisations, hearing-health professionals, researchers and institutions that focus on providing opportunities for an equitable collaboration with education and wellbeing through research,” she stated.
The research team at work at the Windy-Bay Guest House in Winneba
Prof. Sakina Acquah indicated UEW Management’s inclination to support efforts of the research project team to come up with research findings that would drive the formulation of appropriate policies which would inevitably propel the agenda for working with caregivers, families and communities, to develop critical understandings of the social and resource contexts of young deaf children, and to support the development of early years policy and practice that could be replicated across different urban and rural contexts.
Participants deliberated on pertinent issues in consonance with the research topic in groups leading to a plenary session where secretaries from the groups presented on key issues raised during the group discussions for further deliberations.