Unemployment is a major problem facing Ghanaian school leavers. This problem is sometimes more severe among school leavers who are deaf. This alarming trend is seen in the growing number of deaf persons turning into begging and other antisocial activities that degrade them and create negative reaction towards them by people who are not deaf. Information from Bechem Technical Institute for the Deaf in 2005 indicated that, eight out of ten students who graduate from the vocational centre in the school do not work with the vocational skills they have acquired in any gainful employment. This was linked to difficulties in the vocational education of the deaf and some social factors outside the school environment which limit the employment chances of the deaf. It was based on these that the study commenced to find out the underlining difficulties in vocational education of the deaf in Ghana and also to find out the reasons why those who undergo vocational education in schools for the deaf are not able to work with their skills either in self-employment or working in an existing venture. Books and other documents were read for information on the theoretical framework of school curriculum in Ghana, vocational education, attitudes towards the disabled with emphases on the deaf as well as empirical study relating to the topic. The study made use of qualitative research methodology in data collection, analysis and discussion. With three schools for the deaf in three regions of Ghana selected as a case study, the researcher employed observation, questionnaire and interview as data collection instruments. Data gathered were described with illustration. Photographic camera was also used to take pictures of selected artefacts made by students during the study. The main findings are that, vocational education faces multiple problems such as financing, unavailable up- to-date tools and materials and unsuitable syllabi and teaching/learning materials. Again, parental neglect, superstition and communication barriers were identified as the main problems that limit the employment chances of the deaf who have graduated with vocational skills. It is recommended that selection of teachers for vocational education in schools for the deaf should be based on adequate qualification in special need educational strategies. Moreover, stake holders in education should help in providing funds, infrastructure, suitable teaching and

learning materials and tools. There should be a vigorous public education through the mass media aimed at eliminating all forms of negative attitudes, beliefs, superstitions and discriminations that hinder the employment chances of the deaf after leaving their schools‟ environment.


Content Page










Background to the Study1

Statement of the Problem4





Definition of Terms8



Importance of the Study.11

Organization of the Rest of the Text.12




Theoretical review13

Pragmatism and Reconstructivism13

The Pragmatist‟s/Reconstructionist‟s curriculum14


Concepts of Special Education.18

Special Schools in Ghana20

School for the Deaf/Hearing Impaired21

Teaching Personnel for the Disabled.22

Negative Attitudes towards the Disabled.24

Vocational Education (Concepts and Definitions).25

Vocational and Technical Education.28

Views on „Technical‟ and „Vocational‟ Education and Training.28

History of Vocational and Technical Education in Ghana.30

Vocationalization of Education in Ghana (1987 and 2007

Education Reforms) 32

Vocational Education Curriculum for Second Cycle Schools in Ghana34

Visual Art as vocational Skills training in Ghanaian School Curriculum36

Empirical Study40

Vocational Training for the Hearing Impaired in Ghana40

Vocational Training for the Hearing Impaired in Kenya41

Vocational Training for the Hearing Impaired in Britain42

Vocational Training for the Hearing Impaired in America43

The lives of Selected Hearing Impaired Individuals.44

Problems of Hearing Impaired Persons in finding jobs45




Research Design46

Descriptive Research47

Case Study48

Library Research Conducted49

Population and Sampling49

Population for the Study50


Purposive Sampling51

Characteristics of the Population Studied53

Data Collecting Instruments.55


Interviews Conducted56

Questionnaire Designed57

Validation of instruments57

3.5.5. Administration of Instruments 58

Primary and Secondary Sources of Data.59

Data Collection Procedures59




Observations made62

Teaching and Learning Effectiveness62

Quality of Skills/Articles made by Students64




Textile and Fashion71

4.3 Analysis of Questionnaire (Categories C and D) 74

4.3.1 Responses from Category C (Teachers) 74

4.3.2 Responses from Category D (Students) 93

4.4 Response from Interviews 108

4.4.1 (a) Financing Vocational education 108

4.4.1 (b) Administration of Vocational Education 109

4.5 Main findings (Weaknesses and Strengths identified) 110


4.5.2 Objective one: To examine the Inherent Difficulties in the Vocational Education of the Deaf

Primary Data: Responds from observation, Interviews and




1.5.3 Difficulties in Teaching and Learning Identified 110

4.5.4 Teaching staff 113

4.5.5 Students 114

4.5.6 Secondary data: Information from Literary Sources 115

4.6 Objective 2 116

4.6.1 Primary Data: Responds from Questionnaire and Interviews 116

4.6.2 Secondary Data (Information from Literary sources) 118

4.7 Strength Identified 119

4.8 Test of Hypotheses 120

4.8.1 Declarative Hypothesis 120

4.8.2 Null Hypothesis 120




5.1 Summary 123

5.2 Conclusions 125

5.3 Recommendations 127






Table 2.1

Schools for the Deaf in Ghana



Table 3.1 Number of Pupils in Special Schools 50

Table 3.2 Population Distribution Table (Categories A, B, C and D) 51

Table 3.3 Subjects Studied in Selected Schools for the Study 55

Table 3.4 Distribution of Interview Guide (Category A and B) 58

Table 3.5 Distributed and Recovered copies of Questionnaire 61

Table 4.1 Gender of Respondent 74

Table 4.2 Academic Background of Respondents 75

Table 4.3 Number of years taught 76

Table 4.4 SHS or N.V.T.I. Institute 78

Table 4.5 Workshop, Seminar and Conferences attended. 78

Table 4.6Suitability of Vocational Education Syllabi and

Textbooks if any81

Table 4.7 Availability of Tools and Materials 84

Table 4.8 Financial assistance from the School Administration 85

Table 4.9Practical Skills and Entrepreneurship Development in

Vocational Education86

Table 4.10 Starting a trade after School 88

Table 4.11 Gender of Respondent 93

Table 4.12 Type of Certificate awarded 94

Table 4.13 Choices of Visual Art Vocations 95

Table 4.14 Adequacy of Skills acquired 96

Table 4.15Availability of Tools and Materials for Practical

Skills training101

Table 4.16 Establishing an Enterprise 102

Table 4.17 Sources of Funding to set-up Enterprise 103

Table 4.18 Problems of the Deaf in their Communities 107


Figure Page

Fig. 2.1Structure of the Senior High School Vocational education


Fig.3. 1 Layout of sampling design 54

Fig. 3.2Map of Ghana showing Regional capitals and Towns where

the Study was Conducted60

Fig.4.1 Subject Distribution Chart 80

Fig 4.2 Problems associated with Syllabi and Textbooks 83

Fig 4.3 Careers graduates engage in 89

Fig. 4.4Possible factors accounting for inability of the deaf

to generate employment for themselves91

Fig. 4.5 Some identified students‟ problems 98

Fig. 4.6 How students get tools and materials for practical training 100

Fig. 4.7 Students‟ assessment of their teachers‟ performances 101

Fig 4.8 How students will raise fund to set up their workshops 103

Fig. 4.9 Alternative career opportunities for the deaf 105

Fig. 4.10Some identified problems the deaf face in their




Plate 4.1

Students working with full concentration Page


Plate 4.2 Carpentry products at B.T.I.D. 65

Plate 4.3Metal products produced by students during the

Study at B.T.I.D.67

Plate 4.4Visual Arts Students working in a congested classroom at


Plate 4.5 Some of the Products of Leatherwork 70

Plate 4.6 Some Textiles and Fashion articles made by Students 72


Background to the Study

The future of a nation partly depends on educated and skilled citizens who are aware of their individual and collective responsibilities to contribute meaningfully to the social, economic, political, cultural and spiritual etc development of their nation and the world at large. As society changes with time, so is its educational system. These changes are sometimes triggered by factors such as the socio-politico-economic situation within which the society finds itself at a period of it‟s development. The changes moreover also affect either a unit or the whole system of the education, including education of the disabled. Reforming the educational system in Ghana has taken place even before independence whenever it was deemed necessary to meet technological, sociological, economical, political and cultural development needs of Ghana. Vocationalizing education in Ghana dates back to pre-colonial days (castle school days), through colonial era, to present day.

However, the making of vocational and technical skills subjects as an integral part of the school curriculum especially at the secondary level started in the mid- 1960s with the release of the Dzobo Committee of Education reform report. But it was not until 1987 that a comprehensive plan was launched to make vocational and technical subjects as part of both basic and secondary school curricula. This was to reverse the decline in education of the 1960s and 1970s and to make vocationalization widely accepted by the youth as a means of economic empowerment (Baiden, 1996). The point therefore was to prepare the youth for work

and that, through vocational and technical education, students will be equipped with skills for paid and self-employment.

Other policies (both national and international) have helped shape the reforms of 1987 and 2007 from its beginning till now. Among these are the United Nation‟s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and UNESCO‟s Education For All (EFA) policies. The EFA policy for example explain among other aims that every child should be educated to develop his or her capabilities whether he or she been normal or infirmed (UNESCO 1994, cited in Baiden, 1996).

So, as Ghana aimed at attaining fully the goals of education as stated by both 1987 reform of education and the 1990 policy on technical and vocational education and training, the need to create chances for the disabled to acquire vocational education was considered in the Draft Report on Disability Policy (DRDP, 1996). Furthermore, for the country to achieve the MDGs and EFA objectives by 2015 as well as Ghana‟s own goals of education in this century, the Anamoah Committee report on education stated that, education should now focus on inculcating students with the skills and appreciation of the use of the hand as well as the mind to make students creative and production oriented (Meeting the Challenges of Education in the Twenty First Century, 2002). From this vocational education continued to play an important role as a component of general education in the education reform of 2007.

This was based on national developmental and educational philosophies and increasing knowledge that vocational education is an effective means of achieving economic growth as well as the expected outcomes of education as expressed in national educational goals. This concept, including the vocationalization of Visual

Arts for example has been strengthened to make vocational education more responsive to the employment needs of school leavers including deaf students.

It should be noted that education of the disabled in Ghana commenced with the blind in 1936 at Akuapem-Akropong in the eastern region. In 1957 a school was started for the deaf at Osu in Accra. From 1965 onwards, there was expansion in basic education for the deaf all over the country. Some of these schools started vocational education for their students, having realized their limitation in acquiring further education at the main stream secondary school after basic school.

However, problems like unemployment and begging on the part of some deaf people after schooling makes it fair to infer that the type of vocational education which some of the deaf students receive leaves more fertile grounds untouched. Vocational and technical skills education has two main thematic areas (theoretical and practical) that when effectively integrated, result in students who have creative perception, insight and creative action. These development of the individual manifest in his or her social, emotional, perceptual, physical and psychological knowledge such that the individual becomes a well-adjusted member of society, as reiterated by Lowenfeld and Brittain (1970). The education of special needs children of which the deaf is categorized in Ghana seeks to:

1. Make handicapped people self-supporting and not to become a liability to the state or his family;

2. Make the handicapped lead a normal life and to compare favourably to the normal human being. Thus to make him an individual;

3. Make the handicapped contribute economically, academically and socially to

the community in which he is born (Ayisu, 1980).

Among special schools in Ghana, schools for the deaf are more populated but provided with less resource in terms of infrastructure, finance, and personnel. To help achieve the equilibrium between normal students in the main stream school system and special needs educational for those with a form of handicap   in Ghana and their contribution to national development, it is expressed in the goals stated above by (Ayisu, 1980). Therefore, establishing special schools such as Schools for the Deaf and further training of these Deaf Students in Vocational and Technical skills, at the post-basic level was to utilize the potentials and aptitudes of the deaf towards their individual and national development.

The application of the knowledge and skills gained through vocational education by the deaf student is to help them become more independent through self employment or employment in an existing industry even after secondary education; thereby reducing poverty and dependency among the deaf which leads to begging, frustration and mockery.

Statement of the Problem

Education of the Deaf in Ghana falls under Special Education. Special education is defined as, “a set of instructions that is individually tailored to meet the unique needs of a child with exceptionality, taking into account the child‟s individual learning strength and weakness rather than following one set of curriculum as regular education does” (Smith 1993, as cited in Avoke, 2004, p.2). Special education also involves procedures and arrangement by which physically disabled,

mentally retarded, gifted and talented children are educated either in a segregated or mainstream school system to meet their developmental and educational needs.

Despite efforts of the government, religious bodies, NGO‟s and individuals, towards the education of deaf children, there are problems such as unemployment and begging. Vocational and technical skills education and training have been used in special schools in Ghana and around the world and found to be an effective means of empowering individuals with disabilities in the areas of career training and employment opportunities. Vocational education in Ghanaian schools for the deaf face several problems. Preliminary survey conducted in 2006 at Bechem Technical Institute for the Deaf coupled with interaction with the then headmaster of the school revealed that eight out of ten graduands who completes vocational education in the school‟s vocational department will not work with their skills either on their own or in someone‟s industry. This was traced to some difficulties in the vocational education of the deaf and some social factors outside the schools environment. It again came out that:

1. There are multiple problems associated with vocational education of the deaf;

2. Recruiting teaching staff for vocational education was problematic; and

3. Students who graduate are not able to utilize their skills for employment purposes.

It should be noted also that the deaf is aware of his social and personal values. With the exception of their impairment that limits them in verbal communication, they function very well in the other senses and therefore capable of carrying out responsibilities as normal people do. Nkrumah, (The Mirror, December

2, 2006) reported of some deaf students who assaulted another deaf lady who was allegedly begging for alms in Accra. This indicates that hearing impaired people are becoming more aware of their dignity as individuals and the shame that some of them put them through, with begging as an example. It is also a known fact that most deaf learners are exceptionally good in creativity, serviceable and work diligently. They do not exhibit divided attention when they are executing their work. They are highly sensitive with their senses and exhibit potentials that can be effectively utilized in vocational and technical training and education for the acquisition of skills and knowledge necessary for economic empowerment as well as social well being.

But notwithstanding the above good qualities of the deaf, research has also shown that few of deaf students who completed vocational education in Ghanaian schools for the deaf and are make use of the skills they acquire from school in productive ventures, are making positive gains in their lives by contributing to the growth and well being of their families and society.

There was, therefore, the need for a comprehensive study into the training of the deaf (with selected schools for the deaf in focus), to unearth its strengths and weaknesses and find out why a greater number of deaf students who undergo vocational education in Ghanaian schools for the deaf are not able to work productively with the skills they acquire from school. And also help find some remedies to these problems such as unemployment, dropout, begging, poverty, frustrations and mockery.


1. To examine the inherent difficulties in the vocational education of the deaf.

2. To find out the problems militating against the employment needs of the deaf vocational skills graduate.

3. To provide recommendations for the improvement of vocational/Technical education in Ghanaian Schools for the deaf.


1. An effective vocational skills education for the deaf can help make them employable.

2. The inabilities of the deaf to utilize skills they have acquired from school are caused by inherent problems in their education and negative attitudes towards them.


1. The study is limited to investigating the problems associated with vocational education of deaf students in selected Schools for the Deaf in Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti and Eastern Regions of Ghana.

2. Only factors that account for ineffective vocational education were looked at.

3. Only district vocational education officers, Headmasters, vocational skills teachers and students undergoing vocational skills training were selected for the study.


1. The researcher‟s inability to communicate effectively in sign language with the students delayed data collecting procedures.

2. Very scanty literature on the subject was available in the libraries, which the researcher visited. Particularly, information on vocational education of the deaf was rare. As such, data gathered were compared and contrasted with few information from literary sources.

3. Inability to interview vocational and technical officer at the district education directorate of Akuapem North District did not help in fully getting the needed information.

Definition of Terms

Deaf-blind- Individuals who have both hearing and vision impairments that cause severe problems in communication, development and education.

Deafness- A degree of hearing impairment sufficient to preclude the learning of language through the auditory channel.

Disability- Generally referring to all individuals with some form of handicap, whether sensory, mental, physical, emotional, or whether their difficulty is as a result of social, cultural circumstances.

Exceptionality- A physical, health, sensory, mental, psychological, or proficiency characteristic by which an individual differs from others in their age group.

Handicap- A physical health, sensory, mental or psychological condition that adversely affect the performance of an individual.

Impairment- A total or partial malfunction or weakness in one or more of the sense organs or part of the body.

Special Education- Procedure and arrangements by which physically disabled, mentally retarded, gifted and talented children are educated in a segregated or mainstream school systems.

Vocational education – For the purpose of this study, vocational education is define as a course in educational institutions with curriculum designed to prepare the students with skills for employment in an occupation of his or her choice.


1. B.E.C.E.- Basic Education Certificate Examination

2. B.T.I.D.- Bechem Technical Institute for the Deaf

3. CRDD - Curriculum Research and Development Division

4. DRDP- Draft Report on Disabilities Policy

5. EFA - Education For All

6. GES - Ghana Education Service

7. MDGs - Millennium Development Goals

8. MOE- Ministry of Education

9. N.V.T.I.- National Vocational Training Institute

10. NERC- Nigerian Education Research Council

11. NGOs - Non Governmental Organizations

12. P.T.A. Parent Teachers Association

13. SED - Special Education Division

14. SH/TSD- Senior High/Technical School for the Deaf

15. SNE - Special Needs Education

16. SpED- Special Education Division

17. SPSS- Statistical Package for Social Sciences

18. TVET- Technical and Vocational Education and Training

19. UNESCO- United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization

20. VET- Vocational Education and Training

21. WAEC- West Africa Examination Council


1. It was assumed that skill training in vocational education was facing difficulties in its teaching and learning in Ghanaian Schools for the Deaf.

2. It was assumed that provision of adequate funding will help achieve quality vocational skills for the deaf.

3. It was assumed that, vocational education in Ghanaian Schools for the Deaf does not meet the occupational needs of deaf students after their training.

4. It was assumed that national priorities have not been fully focused on in the education of the handicapped in vocational skills as income generating activity, especially the deaf who are categorized among this group of people.

5. It was assumed that proper parental care will help the deaf vocational education graduates find work to do after school.

Importance of the Study.

1. The study will help to further explore the role and contributions vocational education make to the deaf after leaving school.

2. This research will help diversify teaching and learning approaches of teachers and students in schools for the deaf through exposure to the use of integrated material and technique; approaches and also equip deaf students with employable skills in various forms of skills vocational subjects.

3. The study will help policy makers such as the GES and N.V.T.I. to be abreast with teaching and learning problems affecting deaf students.

4. The study can be used as reference material and body of knowledge for

researchers in vocational and technical skills and Special educators who may embark on a similar research.

5. The study seeks to roll back the frontiers of negative social attitudes towards the deaf.

6. It will also help the deaf to increase their contribution to national development.

7. The study can help the deaf student increase his creative abilities through the use of integrated materials, techniques and methods in vocational skills training.

Organization of the Rest of the Text.

This study is presented in five chapters. The introductory chapter gives a background to the study; it discusses the statement of the problem and objectives of the study, hypothesis, the scope and limitations of the study, definition of terms, abbreviations, importance of the study and organization of chapters. Chapter two deals with the review of literature related to the topic. It makes use of secondary information such as newspapers, encyclopedia, journals, books and internet resources related to the topic.

The third chapter examines the methodology used in gathering the data. Chapter four takes a look at the analysis of the field work where major findings from the study are presented and discussed. Chapter five concludes the research by summarizing, concluding, and making recommendations based on the findings.



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