Including Albinism Studies In The Ghanaian Curriculum, A Necessary Step To Promote Diversity, Eliminate False Beliefs And Instill Values.
About thirty-five years ago, growing up as a person with albinism in Ghana was not an easy journey. I faced a lot of challenges due to the lack of knowledge and awareness about my condition.
Initially, most people thought that my skin condition was contagious and avoided me. Even some members of my family shunned me, believing that my condition was a curse from the gods. This made me feel very isolated and alone during my childhood.
Another challenge I can’t forget was the constant discrimination and teasing I received from others due to my physical appearance. I was bullied in school by both students and teachers, who called me derogatory names and made fun of my fair skin and light-colored hair. I can vividly still remember one Stella calling me a pig in JSS one.
This left me feeling ashamed and unworthy, and I often wished that I could just blend in with everyone else.
The lack of understanding about albinism also made it difficult to get proper medical care. Many healthcare workers were not familiar with my condition. This lack of knowledge sometimes led to misdiagnosis and mistreatment, further exacerbating my health problems.
From primary to secondary, I had no scientific knowledge about my condition. No teacher had told me about my condition and no textbook I came across talked about my condition. This is because the school curriculum did not introduce us to human differences and diversity.
Even today as I narrate my story, understanding about albinism is still based on perceptions and superstitious beliefs, and persons with albinism continue to suffer my ordeal.
To address this, I believe that it is high time that the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in Ghana includes albinism studies in the basic school curriculum.
Scientifically, albinism is a genetic condition that affects the skin, hair, and eyes. Unfortunately, persons with albinism face numerous challenges that threaten their fundamental human rights and dignity.
By educating our children about albinism, we can help to curb discrimination, prejudice, and stigma that they face.
There are several reasons why albinism studies should be included in the school curriculum.
To start with, it will promote diversity and inclusion. Ghana has a diverse population and it’s important to show our children that everyone should be respected regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, or physical characteristics. By teaching them about albinism, children will begin to understand that we are all different, and we should appreciate these differences.
Moreover, an education on albinism would help eliminate disinformation. Despite being highly educated, many Ghanaians still hold misconceptions about albinism.
These false beliefs may lead to violence, kidnapping, or ritual practices targeted at people with albinism as has ever been the case in some parts of the African continent. Education is the key to breaking these stereotypes and reducing insecurity.
Another important reason to include albinism studies in the Ghanaian curriculum is to instill empathy, positive values, and social responsibility.
By educating students about the challenges that people with albinism face daily, we will foster values like empathy, kindness, compassion, and socially responsible attitudes that students can apply to their lives beyond the classroom. This will create a barrier-free society and promote acceptance of difference and diversity.
Finally, including albinism studies in our school curriculum is a significant move in fulfilling our international obligations to respecting human rights.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) obligates all countries to promote the human rights of persons with disabilities including persons with albinism. Introducing albinism studies will demonstrate the commitment of Ghana to protecting the rights of people with albinism.
In conclusion, including albinism studies in the Ghanaian curriculum is necessary to promote diversity, eliminate false beliefs, instill values, and fulfill our obligations as a nation.
It is very important for us as a nation to take advantage of every opportunity to educate our children and society at large about albinism to build a more inclusive, understanding, and compassionate Ghanaian society.
By Abdul Wahab Adam