The Unit for the Education of Children with Intellectual Disabilities (EID) in the Department of Special Education, University of Education, Winneba, in partnership with five other institutions in Winneba held a six-week practical teaching and industrial attachment programme for the level 300 students in the Unit from March 13-April 24, 2018.
The course that fueled this programme was the Pre-internship Seminar, otherwise known as On-Campus Teaching Practice (OCTP) which is designed to offer prior training to students in applying theoretical knowledge into practice as one of its curriculum components in meeting the course outcome.
Institutions that jointly embraced this programme included Don-Bosco Special Unit for Children with Intellectual Disabilities, Rev. Father John Special Unit for Children with Intellectual Disabilities, Winneba Health Centre, Department of Social Welfare, and the Trauma and Specialist Hospital, all in Winneba.
Mrs. Florence Akua Mensah, the course facilitator as well as the Unit Coordinator, with support from the Ag. Head of Department of Special Education, Dr. Yao E. Yekple, deemed it necessary to give the students a real exposure to explore their thoughts, develop their professional attitudes, potentials and gain additional insights into teaching children with intellectual disabilities. This is in line with the objectives of the University’s Student Internship Programme as a practical exposure.
After a one-month theoretical preparation in the lecture theatre, the students, eight in each group of ten, readily took turns on every Tuesday morning from 7:30 – 10:30 am to observe and have useful interactions with the staff and pupils/clients at the Centres scheduled for them. The students worked in the area of their specialization where the course facilitator and the staff at the posting units took roles and responsibilities in providing supervision.
At both Don-Bosco and Rev. Father John Special Units for Children with Intellectual Disabilities, the students gained practical experience in the actual teaching and learning environment of children with intellectual disabilities.
In addition, the Winneba Health Centre served as a platform for students to create awareness and play advocacy roles for persons with disabilities; share their knowledge pertaining to causes and prevention of disabilities, referral points for persons with special needs, and the need for early intervention.
Also at the Department of Social Welfare, the students understudied how this agency promotes and protects the rights of children in Ghana, including the disabled and needy adults. At Trauma and Specialist Hospital, the students made their way to four Units, namely Physiotherapy, Antenatal, Pediatric and Psychiatry, where they learnt about the services that each of these Units provide to people.
Dr. Yekple and Mrs. Mensah, on behalf of the Department, expressed their heartfelt thanks to the Heads of the various centres for their overwhelming support which ensured a successful end of the programme. Certificates of appreciation were presented to the Heads who used the opportunity to relay how privileged the students felt to have applied and acquired learned skills and knowledge in a professional work setting successfully.
In his concluding remarks Dr. Yekple added that the attachment would offer students a practical translation of the theory they have been taught, thereby closing the gap between theory and practice. Therefore there was the need for an extensive future collaboration.
Dr. Yao E. Yekple delivering a certificate of appreciation
Dr. Yao E. Yekple delivering a certificate of appreciation to a nurse at the Trauma and Specialist Hospital, Winneba
Mrs. Florence Akua Mensah delivering a certificate of appreciation
Some Special Education Students from UEW in a pose with some of the facilitators