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How COVID-19 affects education for people with disabilities in Ghana

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This story by Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed originally appeared on Global Voices on July 3, 2020.

In Ghana, education has undergone a series of reforms, but the educational experiences of people with disabilities (PWDs) are often neglected.

As the coronavirus hit Ghana, researchers have looked at its impact on working-class students and students in rural areas, but not specifically on students with special needs — especially when it comes to online learning.

Hearing-impaired and visually-impaired students faced several technical, economic, and social challenges when COVID-19 hit and they shifted their learning online.

Currently, hearing-impaired and visually-impaired students at many higher education institutions use Zoom, Telegram and WhatsApp for learning — digital platforms that were neither built for virtual learning nor for people with visual and hearing disabilities.

Many hearing-impaired students were separated from their sign language interpreters and lacked assistive devices like hearing aids. This especially impacted hearing-impaired students with limited knowledge of sign language. Visually-impaired students were separated from their sighted friends who usually assist them.

In a WhatsApp conversation with Global Voices, Esinam Aleawobu, a hearing-impaired student at the Presbyterian College of Education in Akropong, shared her experiences with e-learning:

Sometimes some tutors will use audio instead of caption. But I am deaf, I can’t hear on audio. That means an interpreter is supposed to translate it for deaf people. I have to meet the interpreter through the Zoom app. But unfortunately, we can’t meet often due to network connection problems and some phone problems.

When tutors realized that audiovisual lectures in video formats burdened students with internet data costs, they explored lesson delivery methods like audio PowerPoint lectures which still used audio and visual elements but reduced the internet data costs. In Ghana, on average, 1 gigabyte of internet data costs 10 Ghana cedis ($1.72).

According to Julius Yaw Klu, a visually impaired student at the Presbyterian College of Education in Akropong, his 4-year-old phone is outdated and does not fully support easy access to online lectures:

The problem that I faced with audiovisual is the same problem I have with the PowerPoint. Sometimes it takes about 30 minutes for me to be able to access the lecture. Sometimes I have to wait for the class to end so that I can borrow a computer and use it to access the lecture.

Daniel Kwarko, a visually-impaired student at the Presbyterian College of Education in Akropong, shared a similar concern with using his phone to participate in e-learning:

Most of the documents we get, the phone can open it, but it cannot read it. And it is difficult for those of us who are visually-impaired. And sometimes you cannot find someone to read it for you. You cannot find someone to always be there to read your notes for you. The phones cannot read the PowerPoint and the slides but the laptop does all those functions. You can even use the laptop to convert documents so that they can be accessible for JAWS [a screen reader program].

These hearing-impaired and visually-impaired students say that providing up-to-date laptop technology could tremendously facilitate online learning.

Toward inclusivity in education

Ghana’s 2015 inclusive education policy “guarantees a learning environment which is barrier-free and enables all learners, including those with disabilities, to move about safely and freely, use facilities and participate in learning and all aspects of school life.”

But research shows that one in five children ages 6-24 with a disability “has never attended school and those who are in school are often stigmatized and face discrimination.”

Despite efforts to make education more inclusive, visually-impaired and hearing-impaired students face a digital divide when it comes to e-learning. This divide not only marginalizes students with disabilities but also exacerbates inequalities in Ghana’s teacher education system.

Mohammed Salifu, a professor and executive secretary of the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), told Global Voices in a phone interview that stakeholders are implementing measures to address the e-learning needs of students with special needs:

We need to make sure that all the interventions we are making are actually tailored to their needs. So the college principals have been proactive in communicating to us. We are partnering with various organizations to address these interventions. These days there are global partners coming in to make submissions regarding how they can help. Even UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization] is trying to provide these funds to support special needs students. I wouldn’t say that we have comprehensively addressed all the issues, but we are working toward them.

Transforming Teacher Education and Learning (T-TEL) is also working in Ghana to ensure e-learning inclusivity for hearing- or visually-impaired students. For example, they allocate funds for Braille curricula material, provide smartphones for digital access, and make text-to-speech converters available.

Expanding education access

The 2006 Persons with Disability Act stipulates that public buildings must be made accessible, but a study found that most public buildings in Ghana are not disability-friendly.

Mainstream educational spaces are not conducive for PWDs, and the few existing special needs schools in Ghana are grossly underfunded and under-resourced.

At the Akropong School for the Blind, three students share one set of Braille learning materials because of limited funding, according to a Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) report. The head of the primary department, Simon Adedeme, described this situation as a hindrance to teaching and learning.

In many higher education institutions, faculty, administrators and students tend to have very limited knowledge and lack the resources to deal with the structural marginalization of students with disabilities.

Many PWDs are encouraged to pursue vocational training and other types of physical labor work while generally being discouraged from intellectual pursuits in various areas of higher education.

Only three of Ghana’s 46 colleges of education have been designated as centers for inclusive education where PWDs can gain a bachelor’s degree in education and train to become basic school teachers.

Enrollment of visually-impaired and hearing-impaired students across these three institutions remains low despite recent efforts to improve facilities and attract more people with disabilities into the teaching profession.

It is imperative to work closely with students with special needs to ensure that genuine inclusion and access are actualized and sustained. This requires working actively to implement all relevant policies so that PWDs are not left at the margins of education in Ghana — during the pandemic or after.

Bio

Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed is the incoming Assistant Professor of Global Media Industries at the University of Georgia. She is a media studies scholar whose research focuses on development communication, feminisms and media industries. Find her on Twitter @wunpini_fm.

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People & Lifestyle

Johnnie Walker headlines Exclusive Men of the Year (EMY) Africa Awards

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Johnnie Walker, Ghana’s number one iconic whisky brand has headlined the much-anticipated Exclusive Men of the Year Africa Awards (EMY Africa Awards), held at Kempinski Hotel in Accra on 16th October, 2021.

The EMY Africa Awards is a prestigious award ceremony that was established in 2015 to honor and celebrate individuals who have demonstrated good values, distinguished themselves in their diverse fields of endeavor and are committed to societal progress.

As the title sponsor of the awards, Guinness Ghana, a Diageo Company, custodians of the Johnnie Walker brand, had the sole honor of presenting the coveted Man of the Year Award to Mr Daniel McKorley, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of McDan Group of Companies, with a personalized bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, the scotch of all scotch.

Speaking at the event, Lesego Lebogang Mohale, Category Marketing Manager (International Premium Spirits, Reserve, Mainstream Spirits &RTDs), Guinness Ghana said, “What Johnnie Walker stands for is pushing boundaries in the pursuit of collective progress. We are inspired by individuals who have emotional drive and optimism to keep walking. People who are stepping beyond the usual to create and pursue something better to make life richer for All. This partnership with the EMY Awards gives us an opportunity to celebrate these individuals who are reaching for greatness, pushing boundaries and taking bold steps forward”.

Johnnie Walker is Ghana’s number one Whisky brand, and the most widely distributed brand of blended Scotch whisky in the world. It is perfect for moments of celebration and a luxurious gift for occasions big and small. Drink responsibly. Johnnie Walker is not recommended to persons under 18 and pregnant women.

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Enjoy Exciting Deals and Offers this October from HUAWEI

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Huawei is offering you amazing deals when you buy any of these Huawei products. Buy a Y5p, Band 6, Freebuds 4i or a Watch Fit and enjoy instant gifts ranging from Mini Portable fans, Huawei Pens, Stainless Steel Bottles and Gift Boxes.

Buy Y5p and Get a beautiful customized Huawei Pen

 

With a 5.45-inch HD bezel-less FullView Display, HUAWEI Y5p offers an immersive viewing experience. Its compact body is ideal for single-hand operation, allowing you to grab the splendid enjoyment in your hand and discover more wonders, all wrapped in one wide screen. Get the Huawei Y5p now for GHS 599

Buy Band 6 and Get a mini portable fan

 

Keeping track of your heart rate is one of the best things you can do for your fitness and health as you go by your daily activities. The TruSeen™ 4.0 heart rate monitoring technology on the Huawei Band 6 uses an optical lens and AI-based data processing to accurately monitor your heart rate 24 hours a day. Be alerted instantly when your heart rate drops below or rises above safe levels. With just GHS 359 you can still maintain a healthy lifestyle on a budget with Huawei Band 6.

Buy  Freebuds 4i and Get a stainless steel bottle

 

You don’t have to take off your earbuds to let in the ambient sound and communicate with others easily. With Huawei Freebuds 4i, just press the earbud and hold down to switch to Awareness Mode. The sensors in HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i actively detect and reduce ambient noise.

HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i also has remarkable endurance. It can play music for 10 hours continuously on a full charge and also gives you 4 hours’ audio enjoyment from a 10-minute charge – perfect when you’re in a hurry. For only GHS 429 you can grab yourself a Freebuds 4i.

Buy Huawei Watch Fit and get a gift box

 

Going about our daily activities at our various workplaces can be stressful. HUAWEI TruRelax™ technology and all-day stress tracking algorithm can effectively monitor your stress levels to see if you are feeling tense. Try to follow the suggested guided breathing exercises to release your stress when you are stressed out.

HUAWEI WATCH FIT is also the perfect smartwatch that blends technology with fashion.  With just GHS 569 you can match your fashion style whilst keeping fit with this smart watch.

 

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How a young, underprivileged boy from Asamankese is changing the narrative with Electric Cars in Ghana

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From the humble streets of Asamankese in the Eastern region of Ghana, not many would have predicted that George (Jorge) Appiah will one day grow to become a colossus in engineering in Africa to the extent of creating significant change not only in the lives of family members, but also several others through job creation.

The story of the technopreneur, as he chooses to call himself, is one of determination, perseverance and hope.

“I didn’t get the best of privileges in terms of access to necessities like electricity. I had to grow up without electricity. Had to learn with candles and lanterns to study …My first encounter with a computer was at Pope Johns and it was quite an experience. At the end though I ended up being one of the top IT guys even though I had never seen a computer before,” he said to Kwabena Kyenkyenhene Boateng on the business edition of 21 minutes with KKB.

After enduring several years of hardship, including a lack of access to electricity for a significant part of his childhood, Jorge decided to pursue a career in engineering, all in a bid to provide electricity for his grandmother.

“I was committed to being an electrical engineer because of my experience – I was committed in finding a sustainable solution that one day I will be providing electricity to my grandmum, because of that I felt like the field of engineering would give me that better opportunity to do so,” he said.

In following that passion and commitment, Jorge and some colleagues of his at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology ended up piloting a number of ideas including the building of space balloons, drones, etc. at a time when many were grappling with the transition from black and white televisions to colour televisions in the West African country, Ghana.

“We built some space balloons to fly satellites into space taking data, we built our first drone in 2013 when people in Ghana didn’t even know what a drone was. We were just innovating for fun. It got to a point we realized that we had to take the innovations to the market because anytime we went for exhibitions, we were only taking fans [and no money]. It had gotten to the point where people from the community were graduating and needed jobs and other things so we started Kumasi Hive.”

With a background in wind energy, biofuel and biogas, it wouldn’t be long for Jorge to get the needed funding from the mastercard foundation to start an assembly plant in Ghana. The focus was to assemble bicycles, motorbikes and even cars powered by electricity – and he’s doing this with a workforce of which 90% are women.

Watch the full story of Jorge Appiah in this interview with Kwabena Kyenkyenhene Boateng on 21 minutes with KKB.

The Business edition of 21 minutes with KKB is produced in partnership with MTN Business and First National Bank Ghana and aims to tell the inspiring stories of agents of change in Ghana today.

Source: Kwabena Kyenkyenhene Boateng | 21 minutes with KKB

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How Long Is A Football Pitch – 7 Interesting Facts About Pitches

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You play the beautiful game, you watch the beautiful game, you bet on the beautiful game, but do you know the ins and outs of the pitch of the beautiful game? Listen, there’s no shame in not knowing. We spent many years, none the wiser to the specifics and quirky facts surrounding the playing surface of football. We are here to give you 7 interesting facts about pitches and find out burning questions like just how long is a football pitch?

 

Fact 1 – How long is a football pitch?

Let’s start off with something more people should know but something a lot of people do not. The dimensions of the pitch. FIFA allows different sizes with touchlines to be within 90-120m long and goal lines to be within 45-90m wide. The different size can be used by teams to play varying styles of the game and is an interesting tactical advantage for some teams, something to consider when you are sticking a wager on Betfair’s latest offer.

 

Fact 2 – You don’t have to play on grass

Whilst traditionally football is played on grass, a lot of lower level teams are now adopting the use of highly technological artificial grass to save the groundskeeper bill. Artificial grass is also used in climates where it can be really hard to maintain grass. The things that are necessary are for the grass, real or artificial, to be green and to comply with the FIFA Quality Concept for Football Turf.

 

Fact 3 – Penalty box ‘D’

Whilst many know that the penalty box in football is for the designated area of where a goalkeeper can handle the ball and where if a foul occurs, the team gets a penalty, but what is the ‘D’ attached to the box for? This addition to the box is actually an extension to the exclusion zone of opposition players when one team is taking a penalty kick.

 

4- Goal dimensions – ideal for next time you are utilising some BTTS betting tips

Whilst the pitch sizes can differ from arena to arena, the goal dimensions must be the same wherever you go. This means the goal posts must be 8 yards apart and the crossbar must be 8ft from the ground. This standardised size is necessary but a net at the back of the goal is not.

 

Fact 5 – There hasn’t always been crossbars

Since the start of the game and from its humble roots, there has always been goalposts to signify where the goals were. But it wasn’t until 1875 that crossbars were added to the game. Before this a string was tied between the goalposts!

 

6- Field or pitch?

We are talking about football pitches. Sometimes, they can get referred to as fields (Americans, raise your hands). This is plainly wrong and when it comes to football the playing arenas are almost always known as pitches.

 

7- Sandygate

The oldest known actual football pitch and ground is found in Northern England in Sheffield. Built and opened in 1806, the Sandygate hosted the world’s first inter-club match inj 1860 between Hallam Fc and Sheffield FC. An unsuspecting home of football, admittedly.

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Glitz Africa’s Beauty Forum ’21 discusses beauty aesthetics, influencers & production

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Glitz Africa organized the second edition of the Beauty Forum, a side event of the annual Glitz Africa Fashion Week; a platform to engage beauty experts, entrepreneurs, influencers and enthusiasts to discuss all things beauty. It took place on Wednesday, October 20 at The Underbridge, East Legon.

It took off with a message from the keynote speaker, Ms Dzigbordi Dosoo, the certified high-performance coach.

The first panel was moderated by the forum host, Miss Gina Nipah, a plus size model and owner of Hapin Hair Lounge. The speakers on the panel discussing ‘The crave for beauty aesthetics, does it really work?’ included Trudy Arnold (CEO, Studio 7 Beauty Lounge), Jahara M Osman (Founder, Premier Aesthetic Clinic), Siran Mahama (CEO, Reviv Ghana), Emily Bodom (CEO, Enhance by EB) and Tish Tagoe (CEO, Luxury Beauty Spa).

They discussed both surgical and non-surgical beauty procedures, the likely complications and safety measures they take.

The second panel discussed the topic, ‘Building brand relationships with influencer marketing’ with Founder of LXHR Solutions, Lexy O. Boahene as moderator. The speakers included; Chris Kata (TV host/Entrepreneur), Larley Lartey (Digital Creator/Creative Director) and Maame Gyamfua Yeboah (Co-founder, Oh My Hair).

The ladies discussed the era of influencer marketing, what they consider before coming on board as influencers and brands look out for in choosing influencers among other issues.

The last panel was moderated by the Co-founder of Polish’d Nails and Beauty Bar, Nana Amobi Chambers on the topic, ‘From sourcing to distribution – Exploring the process of beauty production’ with Akosua Opoku (Owner, Beautymarked – a skincare and makeup retail) and Ernest Ekuma (Managing Director, Tree of Life).

Adeline Asante Antwi, a manager at Garnier did a short presentation on some of their products and offered some freebies to the guests. Zeepay also did a presentation on their products.

Some of the guests included Sacha Okoh (CEO, SO Aesthetics), Vanessa Gyan (media personality and entrepreneur), Ramona McDermott (fashion influencer) among others.

Partners of the Forum included MAC Cosmetics, Zeepay and Garnier.

Food partners which included The Salad Bar, Omama Chocolate, Sunny Snacks and Lizgyei Drinks provided refreshment to the guests.

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Full Winners Ghana Events Awards2021: Outstanding stakeholders awarded to boost morale in creative industry

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Full Winners Ghana Events Awards2021

Ghana Events Awards(GEA), a creative industry player has awarded over 20 of its members in the creative art sector to boost their morale and encourage them work assiduously to make the industry a lucrative job for the upcoming artists.

 

The host and co-host, Jay foley and Roselyn Felli both of Joy Prime television at multimedia were very magnificent and hilarious as they are on top of the game throughout the ceremony giving the audience and invited guests the pleasure needed to enjoy the awards night at Movenpic Hotel in Accra.

Also at the 4th GEA night, citations and plaques were presented to winners in various categories like Best MC of the year, Best Disc Jockey (DJ) player of the year, Best Event Planner of the year, Best Event of the year among others.

 

Speaking to journalists, the Chief Executive of GEA, Kelvin Kenneth was delighted and expressed his appreciation to the Board of Directors and all stakeholders who were involved in making the event possible and successful.

 

He explained that the nomination and selection of winners in the various categories is based on lots of considerations from the public, Board members and the economy which includes good lightening system, sound system, stage and the environment in which the event was held or occasioned.

” the public, Board members and other economic issues were considered and other issues factored in during the nomination and selection of Best possible winners in the various categories”, he said.

 

Mr. Kenneth added that his next option is to focus on how to improve and extend the awards ceremony to other African countries, adding that, this will even place Ghana on the limelight and also enhance the creative industry across the African continent.

 

He therefore called for unity among the industry players in the creative arts in order to fight a common course or agenda for the benefit of the upcoming artists.

The founder of Jandel Limited who own the overall Best award in the creative industry, Afia Moro advised her colleagues to have a passionate feeling for the creative art rather than seeking for money, stating that, your passion for the job will let you earn good money at the end.

 

She tasked all stakeholders in the creative art industry to be innovative and creative through learning in order to enable them reinvent new things and bring new ideas to the table which can be a tool to remain in business even in this era of the pandemic.

 

“try to be driven by passion whiles you try to earn good money and also educate yourselve and be in track by using the advance technologies like the internet and social media that will make us in the creative industry be at par with our competitors in the outside world”, she added.

 

She further outlined some challenges like failure to recognize the industry by government, division among members, failure to be paid the right amount among others that are facing the industry and wished they can be addressed as soon as possible to drive them forward.

 

” we lack so many things and when it comes to certain things, government fail to recognize us like the sharing of the stimulus packages during the COVID-19 era, most of our members who also placed in their request were sidelined and never get anything”, she said.

But she was grateful and optimistic that the challenges will be addressed due to government’s establishment of the creative art alongside the tourism sector, adding, we can voice out our grievances at that department to be addressed by the appropriate authorities.

 

Also, the Best Master of Ceremony (MC) winner from multimedia, Andy Dosty appealed to government to include the industry in the distribution of the stimulus package or offer some of the members some loans that will cushion them since the pandemic have already caused a huge damage to the industry and things are difficult for most of the members in the industry in Ghana.

 

He also praised the award planners and stakeholders for making the event successful because according to him, there has been an improvement in this year’s ceremony and very optimistic the previous award ceremonies will be greater.

 

” am considering and wished stakeholders will come together and put their resources together to ensure a massive awards ceremony in the next occasion “, he noted.

 

The winners of the various categories are as follows:

 

REGIONAL EVENT OF THE YEAR- UPPER WEST CREATIVE ART AWARDS

EVENT ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR – DIANA HAMILTON

EVENT OF THE YEAR – EXCLUSIVE MEN OF THE YEAR AFRICA AWARDS

BEST EVENT COMPANY OF THE YEAR – GENET SERVICES

BEST EVENT VENUE OF THE YEAR – ( ACCRA CITY HOTEL)

EVENT INFLUENCER OF THE YEAR (BLOGGER) – RONNIE IS EVERYWHERE

BEST EVENT SECURITY OF THE YEAR – ASUAVO SECURITY

GHANA’S FAVORITE EVENT – 3MUSIC AWARDS

EVENT MC OF THE YEAR (FEMALE)- MZGEE

EVENT PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR – MANUEL PHOTOGRAPHY

CSR EVENT OF THE YEAR- MASK4ALL CHARITY CONCERT

EVENT MC OF THE YEAR (MALE) – NATHANIEL ATTOH

EVENT DJ OF THE YEAR – DJ VYRUSKY

YOUTH EVENT OF THE YEAR – GHANA TERTIARY AWARDS

MOST PRESTIGIOUS EVENT OF THE YEAR- RHYTHMS ON DA RUNWAY

MOST INFLUENTIAL EVENT OF THE YEAR- GHANA OUTSTANDING WOMEN AWARDS

BEST VIRTUAL EVENT OF THE YEAR – EXCLUSIVE MEN OF THE AFRICA AWARDS

BEST EVENT SETUP OF THE YEAR – VODAFONE GHANA MUSIC AWARDS.

BEST EVENT VENUE OF THE YEAR (DOME, GARDEN, CONFERENCE HALL) – UNDERBRIDGE EVENT CENTRE

BEST EVENT VENUE (BAR/LOUNGE) – FRONT/BACK ACCRA

EVENT HYPEMAN OF THE YEAR – KOJO MANUEL

EXPERIENTIAL COMPANY OF THE YEAR – BTL AFRICA

EMERGING EVENT OF THE YEAR- UPPER WEST CREATIVE ARTS AWARDS

CORPORATE EVENT OF THE YEAR – CHARTED INSTITUTE OF MARKETING GHANA AWARDS

EVENT SPONSOR OF THE YEAR-

Adonko next level energy drink.

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