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Meet the first visually impaired PhD graduate from UCC

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Among the graduates from the University of Cape Coast (UCC) at its 7th session of the 56th congregation last Friday was Dr Ben Bishop Nyanihorba Ayamba, the first visually impaired doctoral graduate.

Dr Ayamba, a native of Pusiga in the Upper East Region graduated with a doctorate in Guidance and Counseling.

He received a $2000 award from the Chancellor of the university, Sir Sam Jonah.

Two persons living with disability  graduated with doctoral degrees from the session.

The other physically challenged Dr Wisdom Quaiku graduated with a doctoral degree in Development Studies.

In an interview later, Dr Ben Bishop Nyanihorba Ayamba, told Graphic Online that he lost his sight in an accident in August 1995.

Consequently, he said he had to undertake his ordinary level studies in braille at the Presbyterian Training College in Akropong. 

Following the rehabilitation at the School of the Blind at Akropong, Dr Ben Bishop Nyanihorba Ayamba said he pursued further education at the UCC after completing his Teachers Training College in 1999. 

He was subsequently assigned to teach at the Junior High School at Ntonso for two years before enrolling at UCC in 2001 for his first degree completing in 2004 with a degree in English and Psychology. 

Following this, he said he was posted to Mampong Technical College of Education to teach English. 

After three years, he said he returned to UCC to pursue his Master of Philosophy in Guidance and Counseling. 

In 2016, he said he returned to UCC for his doctoral in Guidance and Counseling.

Dr Ben Bishop Nyanihorba Ayamba stated that his journey was marked by prayers and determination and advised parents of children with disabilities to prioritize education, noting the availability of numerous disability schools in Ghana. 

Seek support 

He emphasized that the social welfare department and organisations like the Ghana Blind Union, and other organisations support the physically challenged and urged PWDs to contact such for direction and support. 

Dr Ben Bishop Nyanihorba Ayamba suggested that parents of children with disabilities should send them to rehabilitation and examination centers to assess their capabilities and determine suitable educational settings whether inclusive, mainstream, or special schools. 

He believed that such efforts would help individuals with disabilities recognize their potential, pursue their interests, and contribute meaningfully to their families, communities, nation, and the world at large.

Dr Ben Bishop Nyanihorba Ayamba acknowledged the challenges he faced on his journey but credited his achievements to prayers and determination. 

He also expressed gratitude to the University of Cape Coast for providing a comfortable and accessible environment for his studies.

In an interview, Dr Wisdom Quaiku also told Graphic Online that he became paralyzed in 1986.

He mentioned that initially, he was not interested in school.

However, he said his parents motivated him until he reached tertiary level education, where he realized the potential for personal growth through schooling. 

He said though the journey had not been easy, it had also been great and exciting.

Dr. Quaiku acknowledged that society had placed numerous obstacles in their path, making it difficult for them to progress and encouraged people with disabilities to strive to pursue their dreams in spite of the challenges saying perseverance is the key to overcoming challenges.

Disability friendly policies 

He appealed for the implementation policies that would ensure persons with disabilities could access basic necessities. 

He also implored the government to provide scholarships for persons with disabilities in the secondary institutions, so that when they compete school, they wouldn’t have to rely on government support anymore.

Advise

Earlier in session, the Chancellor of UCC, Sir Sam E. Jonah, urged UCC to continue its rich traditions and embrace innovative thinking and learning while making postgraduate programmes more accessible to all. 

He remarked that UCC remain a vibrant community where scholars, educators, and students collaborated to solve societal challenges, foster innovative ideas and awaken minds and advised the graduands to reflect on what they had gained and impact on society.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof Johnson Nyarko Boampong said the university would continue to strive to maintain its standards of excellence in higher education for meaningful societal impact.

Impact society 

He advised the graduands to make a positive impact in their various fields of endeavour.

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