Original Research

Designed to deter: Barriers to facilities at secondary schools in Ghana

Anthony K. Danso, Frances E. Owusu-Ansah, Divine Alorwu
African Journal of Disability | Vol 1, No 1 | a2 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v1i1.2 | © 2012 Anthony K. Danso, Frances E. Owusu-Ansah, Divine Alorwu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 July 2011 | Published: 16 May 2012

About the author(s)

Anthony K. Danso, Department of Building Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
Frances E. Owusu-Ansah, Department of Behavioural Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
Divine Alorwu, Department of Building Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana


Background: There are varied and complex problems associated with the admission of students with disabilities into secondary (senior high) schools all over the world. This situation is further complicated by difficulties encountered in the built environment of these institutions and, in this, Ghana is no exception.

Objectives: This exploratory study investigated the level of accessibility of the built environment in secondary schools in eight out of the ten regions of Ghana, in order to determine whether they conform to guidelines provided in international building standards and also assess the extent to which they have been designed and constructed to meet the provisions of the Persons with Disability Act 2006, which allows for equal access to public buildings in Ghana.

Method: In total, 705 building elements in 264 facilities were surveyed using international standards, building codes, regulations and guidelines. These facilities included car parks, classrooms, dormitories, assembly halls, telephone booths and administration blocks.

Results: Our findings revealed that most of the building elements were barring and not disability-friendly. Just to name a few: there were obstructions on access routes to and around buildings, absence of designated car parks, unfriendly vertical and horizontal means of circulation in buildings and lack of accessible sanitary accommodations. In addition, the general lighting and signage were poor. As a result, very few students with disabilities are admitted and retained in these schools.

Conclusion: Mainstreaming of people with disabilities into the Ghanaian educational system remains impossible unless urgent action is taken to alter the facilities at secondary schools. Based on this research outcome, recommendations have been made to the Ghanaian government and the Ghana Education Service, as well as non-governmental organisations and relevant professional bodies for the amelioration of the present situation in our secondary schools.


access; building codes; built environment; disabilities; standards; universal design


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Crossref Citations

1. Perceived control, academic performance and well-being of Ghanaian college students with disability
Frances E. Owusu-Ansah, Peter Agyei-Baffour, Anthony Edusei
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doi: 10.4102/ajod.v1i1.34