Equity and access for persons with disability in theological education, Ghana

Amenyedzi, Seyram Bridgitte (2016-11-22)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Persons with disability in Ghana experience stigmatization, marginalization and exclusion from society; this accounts for their lack of participation in society, equitable access to the Christian life and theological education. By means of a qualitative approach, this study sought to investigate equity and access for persons with disability [blind persons, Deaf persons and persons with physical disability] in theological education in Ghana. The aim was to explore and realistically evaluate the cultural dimension of the stigmatization and exclusion they experience. In my endeavour to do so, a missiological approach to culture from a social constructionist perspective was employed to explore and to some extent realistically evaluate [context-mechanism-outcome (CMO) configurations] the social and theological factors that influence equal accessibility to theological education for persons with disability. The use of stigmatization and inculturation theology as a conceptual framework showed that the Ghanaian culture and traditional belief system has indeed influenced the interpretations and constructions of disability in the Ghanaian Christian context. The dialogue between the Ghanaian culture/traditional belief system and Christianity is a reflection of sociological-anthropological inculturation theology, which is an aspect of contextualization. The stigmatization and exclusion of persons with disability from theological education in Ghana was explored from a perspective that takes into account perceptions (worldview and meanings) of disability in the Ghanaian culture and also considers how these influence equal accessibility for persons with disability in theological education. Hence, contextualization is a relevant and appropriate way of making sense of the disability situation in Ghanaian Christianity and theological education. It was found that Ghanaian Christians construct disability as a curse and as being unacceptable in a similar manner as it is constructed in the Ghanaian culture itself. Consequently, constant pressure is exerted on persons with disability to be healed by means of exorcism, or through faith healing. However, if healing does not occur, the person is accused of lacking faith and the situation is compounded even further. It was therefore established that the churches and theological institutions need to realistically engage in dialogue from a disability theology and a theological hermeneutic of disability (Reynolds, 2008:34-35) perspective in order to integrate, include and embody persons with disability in their ministries and activities. The Ghanaian culture and Bible were thus proposed as two interventions, among others, for equal accessibility for persons with disability in theological education. Although the Ghanaian culture has negatively influenced stigmatization and the exclusion of persons with disability from society at large, and theological education in particular, I suggest that the same culture can also be viewed as an intervening resource. In the final chapter, I list a number of recommendations as ways forward to resolve/address this issue. In addition, I propose that Ghanaian churches and theological institutions as instruments involved in God’s mission have the task of ensuring equal accessibility for persons with disability in theological education. To conclude, from a missio Dei dimension, Ghanaian churches and theological institutions as instruments involved in the mission of God need to be all-inclusive in all their ministries and activities without any form of discrimination, stigmatization or exclusion. Hence, it is only when persons with disability are ensured equal access to churches and theological institutions in Ghana, that they can reflect their true involvement in the missio Dei.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Persone met gestremdhede ervaar stigmatisering, marginalisering, en uitsluiting van die samelewing; dit verduidelik hul gebrek aan deelname in die samelewing, billike toegang tot die Christelike lewe en teologiese opleiding. Deur middel van ‘n kwalitatiewe benadering, poog hierdie studie om billikheid en toegang vir persone met gestremdhede [blinde mense, dowe mense en mense met fisiese gestremdhede] in teologiese opleiding in Ghana, te ondersoek. Die doel was om die kulturele dimensie van die stigmatisering en uitsluiting wat hulle ervaar, te verken en realisties te evalueer. In my strewe om dit te doen is ‘n missiologiese benadering tot kultuur vanuit ‘n sosiaal-konstruksionistiese oogpunt aangewend om die sosiale en teologiese faktore wat billike toegang tot teologiese opleiding beïnvloed te verken en in ‘n sekere mate, realisties te evalueer (konteks-meganisme-uitslag [KMU]-konfigurasies). Die gebruik van stigmatiserings- en inkulturasieteologie as ‘n konsepraamwerk toon dat die Ghanese kultuur en tradisionele geloofstelsel wel die interpretasies en konstruksies van gestremdheid in die Christelike Ghanese konteks beïnvloed het. Die dialoog tussen die Ghanese kultuur / tradisionele geloofstelsel en die Christendom is ‘n refleksie van die sosiologiese, antropologiese inkulturasieteologie, wat ‘n aspek is van kontekstualisering. Die stigmatisering en uitsluiting van persone met gestremdhede tot teologiese opleiding in Ghana is vanuit ‘n perspektief verken wat rekening hou met opvattings (wêreldbeskouïng en betekenis) van gestremdheid in die Ghanese kultuur en ook oorweeg hoe hierdie aspekte gelyke toegang vir persone met gestremdhede in teologiese opleiding beïnvloed. Kontekstualisering is dus ‘n relevante en toepaslike metode om sin te maak van die gestremdheidsituasie in Ghanese Christendom en teologiese opleiding. Daar is bevind dat Ghanese Christene gestremdheid as ‘n vloek konseptualiseer en as onaanvaarbaar op dieselfde manier as wat dit in die Ghanese kultuur self gekonseptualiseer word. Daarvolgens word daar onophoudelik druk geplaas op persone met gestremdhede om genees te word deur middel van duiweluitdrywing of deur geloofsgenesing. Indien genesing dan nie plaasvind nie, word daardie persoon aangekla van ‘n gebrek aan geloof en die situasie vererger dan verder. Dit is dus vasgestel dat die kerke en teologiese institute realisties moet deelneem aan die dialoog vanuit die perspektief van gestremdheidsteologie en “a theological hermeneutic of disability” (Reynolds, 2008:34-35) om persone met gestremdhede te kan integreer en inkorporeer in hul bediening en aktiwiteite. Die Ghanese kultuur en Bybel is dus onder meer aangebied as twee ingrypings wat gelyke toegang sou kon bewerkstellig vir mense met gestremdhede in die teologiese opleiding. Alhoewel die Ganese kultuur die stigmatisering en uitsluiting van mense met gestremdhede in die samelewing in die breë en spesifiek met betrekking tot teologiese opvoeding negatief beïnvloed het, stel ek voor dat dieselfde kultuur ook as ‘n ingrypende hulpbron gesien kan word. In die finale hoofstuk word daar ‘n aantal aanbevelings gemaak as maniere om voorts hierdie vraagstuk aan te spreek. Daarby stel ek voor dat Ghanese kerke en teologiese institute as instrumente wat betrokke is by God se missie, die taak het om gelyke toegang vir persone met gestremdhede in teologiese opleiding te verseker. As slotsom: Vanaf ‘n missio Dei dimensie, behoort Ghanese kerke en teologiese institute as instrumente betrokke by God se missie in al hul bedienings en aktiwiteite, sonder enige vorm van diskriminasie, stigmatisering of uitsluiting, heeltemal inklusief te wees. Dit is dus slegs indien persone met gestremdhede verseker kan wees van gelyke toegang tot kerke en teologiese instansies in Ghana, dat hulle ‘n werklike betrokkenheid met die missio Dei kan reflekteer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100118
This item appears in the following collections: