Disability in Education: Sustainability of an Inclusive Africa – University of Ghana 2023 Conference



Disability in Education: Sustainability of an Inclusive Africa – University of Ghana 2023 Conference

Call for Abstracts


Description of Conference

The overall goal of Disability in Education is to frame disability education as the crucial missing piece to sustainable development. The project’s objectives that stem from this overarching purpose are three-fold: (1) to identify the scope and impact of intersectional, geopolitically- situated, disability-based discrimination; (2) to increase the multi-disciplinary knowledge and reach of a pan-African, disability-centered approach to sustainable development; and (3) to develop recommendations for improving the social and economic inclusion of disabled Africans.This conference seeks to bring together stakeholders in the African disability arena to improve inclusive education and unify the efforts of individual partners to achieve SDG goal 4 of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

This conference will feature the following keynote speakers:

  • Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame, Disability and Inclusion Rights Advocate in Ghana & Member, United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Edmund Asiedu, presenting Calling Out Inequality in Global Transportation Systems
  • Farida Nana Efua Bedwei, Navigating Ghana’s Labour Market as a Persons with Cerebral Palsy

Scholarship in the area of disability studies in education has challenged the idea that inclusion— conceptualized within curriculum, pedagogy, and the institutional organization of classrooms (Eilers, 2020)— is solely about placement and has focused on the contributions of disabled students to our understanding of belonging, participation, and equity in educational spaces (Slee, Corcoran & Best, 2019). Disability studies in education seeks to disrupt the inclusion discourses that simply move special education into so-called regular classrooms. Instead, disability studies in education aims to re-envision classrooms as places where disability is normal and disabled people are valued and disablement are contextualized as per history. This means that the underlying socio-political contexts that contribute to disablement—including poverty, colonization, capitalism, and environmental harm—are foregrounded while caring for disabled people, educating disabled students, and employing disabled individuals (Kissi, 2018, 2020; Liasidou, 2023).

This foregrounding can contribute to sustainable development goals (UN, 2018). Granted, there is no unanimity in scholarly fields on framing either political or human development as the objective to inclusion (Douglas & Santinele Martino, 2020). Disability studies in education along with childhood studies and inclusive education and inclusive spaces have all congregated around a critique of normative development. Certainly, the case that the construction of a “normal” child in early childhood and school-based education is rooted in ableist, colonial, and Eurocentric views of childhood. However, the rejection of developmentalism leaves a gap in how to engage with differences in children as they grow and learn into adulthood. There is opportunity to engage with African theories and worldviews as a model for inclusive education and the decolonization of structural spaces. Drawing on Indigenous scholarships we know that the valuing of human differences is conceptualized as a gift, with recognition of human developments natural and social (Underwood, Ineese-Nash, Bomberry & Hache, 2017; Kissi, 2018;2020).


Guidelines for Submissions

We welcome abstracts on the topic of disability in education. The conference is transdisciplinary, hoping to reach disability studies, African studies, critical race studies, anthropology, geography, sociology, women and gender studies, Indigenous studies, education, child development and international development. Scholars, students, service providers, policymakers, advocates, self-advocates, and artists are welcome. Submissions on any topic related to the conference theme are welcome. The following topics are possible, though this listis not exhaustive:

  • African Disability Theory
  • Inclusive Curriculum Development
  • Disability in Early Childhood Education
  • Disability Inclusion and STEAM
  • Law, Human Rights and Disability
  • Disability and Social Work
  • Disability History
  • Disability and Health
  • Development, Policy, and Disability
  • Disability in the Workplace – Labour and Sustainability
  • Decolonizing Architectural Spaces

Please submit 250-word abstract and 150-word bio as a Word document attachment to ugdisabilityineducation2023@gmail.com by June 1, 2023. Indicate in your abstract the format of your submission. Proposal formats include:

  • Individual Paper
  • Panel
  • Workshop
  • Poster

Registration Fees

Presenters and participants will be asked to pay a small fee when registering for the conference. Registration fees contribute to conference meals and its logistics.


Global South

Global North


250 Ghc



100 Ghc



50 Ghc



Click here to apply to the conference 

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