Cape Coast, March 25, GNA - Stakeholders in special and regular education in the Central Region have ended a workshop on Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
It was to build the knowledge of participants, particularly special education teachers in the UDL Framework, and strengthen their capacity to meet the needs of students with disabilities and other diverse needs in inclusive settings.
It was attended by special education and general school teachers, district coordinators, administrators, the Central Region Chapter of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations, and the media.
Participants received training in a pedagogical framework that does not only facilitate access to curriculum and meaningful learning opportunities but enables students with diverse needs to progress in inclusive settings.
The UDL was adopted by the Ministry of Education as a conceptual framework for its inclusive education policy in 2015, to respond to learner diversity by emphasising access, variety, choice, multiple opportunities, and flexibility for learners.
Professor Tiece M. Ruffin, a 2017/2018 Fulbight U.S. Senior Scholar of Special Education at the University of Education, Winneba, said inclusive education was part of the global human rights movements and a tool for social justice, which respected the rights of all persons.
She defined UDL as a research-based set of principles rounded in neuroscience to guide the design of learning environments with accessible and effective tools for all, where barriers are removed and equitable learning opportunities are available.
"Universal design for learning (UDL) is a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn."
Prof. Ruffin, also an Associate Professor of Education at the University of North Carolina, stressed the need for stakeholders in education to improve learning opportunities for all individuals to unearth their capabilities to contribute effectively to national development.
She encouraged teachers not to see student variance as problematic, but see their diversity as basis for planning and instruction, as that was the surest way to make learning relevant to the students.
Dr Yao Yekple, the Senior Lecturer and Acting Head of Department of Special Education at UEW, called for prioritisation of special education needs.
He said children with disabilities and those with special needs lacked access to specialised schools to enable them to acquire knowledge and skills.
He, therefore, called for support to improve special education in the country with the needed teaching and learning aids.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, some participants noted that though many children with disabilities had access to inclusive education, they did not have effective learning environment where teachers used best practices.
They commended the organisers for the insightful programme and urged them to organise it regularly to enhance teaching and learning.
The programme was organised in collaboration with the Special Education Unit of the Central Regional Office of the Ghana Education Service and the Special Education Department at the University of Education, Winneba.