Visually impaired PHD applicant threatens to sue KNUST for withdrawing his admission twice

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Daring the hurdles of disability to pursue a Ph.D. should have been welcomed as a beautiful story of resilience and inspiration to many especially young students with disability.

Unfortunately, however, the journey of Isaac Anin Baah a blind teacher who dared to pursue aPh.D.D in Public Health, a course rarely studied by the visually impaired, has been nothing less than rocky and frustrating.

Isaac Aninbathh received a letter from the KNUST School of Public Health on 10th November 2023 indicating he had been selected for admission into aPh.D.D program in Public Health.

He was instructed by this letter signed by Faustina Nkegbe on behalf of the Dean to appear for a ten-minute presentation on his topic of research, on December 6th, 2023 at the board room of the School of Public Health.

His excitement for getting selected for admission pending an interview was however short-lived when three days later on the 13th of December, he received another letter signed by the same Faustina Nkegbe on behalf of the Dean stating that the letter was issued in error.

The letter read:

“Dear Applicant,

I regret to inform you that you were not shortlisted for an interview for the PHD in public health. Any communication to that effect was an error which is deeply regretted. Very sorry for the inconvenience caused. Ph.D.nk you.”

Isaac told reporter Ivan Heathcote-Fumador that he commenced frantic efforts through a disability resource person in the School of Public Health, whom he had worked with while doing his Masters Programme, to convince the school of his ability to offer the course.

On December 23, Isaac Anin Baah received a letter of admission signed by the Deputy Registrar Academic, M.A. Dzisi (MRS), copied to the Dean/Director, the Registrar and the Finance Officer.

Offer of Admission

“I write with reference to your application to offer you admission to the university to pursue a post-graduate program as a Ghanaian student as concerning details. Department; Public Health. Program: Ph.D. inD Public Health. Duration: 4 years. Effective Date January 6th, 2024; 2023/2024 academic year,” the letter read.

Second Disappointment

Mr Anin Baah recounted moving to the school to submit his letter of acceptance of the offer after details had been subsequently sent to h.im to pay his fees in an extended fee payment window.

Shortly after visiting the Office of the Dean in the company of his father, Isaac narrated that he was called back on another account, that his admission letter issued and signed by the deputy registrar was also done in errorr,r and that his name, which was the first on the admissions list, didn’t matter.

Third Call

On January 15, 2024, Isaac Anin Baah states that he received yet another call from the office of the Provost asking him to attend an orientation for all fresh students.

Thistateder, placed by a lady whose name he recalls as Abigail, corroborated a text message he received requesting all admitted students to attend a student orientation program after which certificates of attendance would be issued.

Isaac successively received his pin for logging into the school’s virtual portals as well as forms for medicals with medical examination fees attached.

Consequently, he also received congratulatory messages and invitations from the KNUST local chapter of the Graduate Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG) and the Catholic Chaplaincy of the University in recognition of his admission credentials.

Suspicion of Discrimination

Left in a state of confusion with no official communication of an admission letter issued in error, Isaac is demanding answers, suspecting the school is discriminating against him on the grounds of his disability.

Isaac’s suspicion of unfairness is further fueled by the fact that he acquitted himself creditably while being offered a Master of Science (MSc) in Disability and Rehabilitation Studies under the same faculty at the same university.

“Most of the courses I did came from the public health program and I know other people who have used this samemaster’ss to pursue public health.

I did a research on support services for pupils with low vision in pilot-inclusive schools. My research was one of the best and for this reas, KNUST selected me to attend a conference on inclusion and assistive technology,” he disclosed

“I indicated on the admission form that I was visually impaired. I suspect that when they brought the letter for me to attend the interview and they discovered that this was the information that I provided, they quickly withdrew the letter,” Isaac inferred.

Legal Suit

Isaac is now looking to Ghana’s nondiscriminatory clauses on access to education and the United Nations Convention on Persons with Disability to pursue his readmission into the course.

“Ghana has passed the Inclusive Education Act. Apart from that, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disability also gives me the right to pursue any program that I like in any school.

“Failure to do that, I might go to court because I feel that they are trampling upon my rights. They are discriminating against me,” he bemoaned.

Isaac lamented that he is depressed, waiting in hope for the school to grant him a window to pursue his dreams, to no avail.

KNUST Response

Starrfm.com.gh’s information from the University’s Relations Officer Dr Daniel Norris Bekoe verifies the claim of an error.

According to the URO’s office, a staff member mistookly clicked on a button of an automated admissions management system, issuing a number of admissions, which were all later recalled with an apology.

He refuted any suspicions of discrimination, insisting the departseveralt realize Isaac was visually impaired prior to the issuance of the wrongfully circulated letters.

 

starrfm.com

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