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February 8, 2003

More Enrol in Mombasa's Approved, Special Schools

From:, Africa - 08 Feb 2003

The East African Standard (Nairobi)

February 8, 2003
Posted to the web February 8, 2003

Evelyn Kwamboka

The number of children enrolled in approved primary schools within Mombasa District has increased in the last two years.

Deputy Municipal Education Officer (MEO), Ms T. Kirongo, atributed the increase to the number of children sent to the institutions by courts.

"They are sent to the institutions for rehabilitation and once they clear their sentences, they are free to join normal schools," she said.

Statistics however indicate that Likoni and Shimo Borstal Approved schools, operated by Mombasa Municipal Council, did not admit girls last year.

At Shimo Borstal, the number of boys in 2000 was 27, (2001) 28 (2001) and 34 (2002). Likoni had 100 (2000), 96 (2001) and 105 (2002).

She said in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), Likoni performed better than many schools within the district, saying that it was number 39 out of 146.

"Children in approved institutions need education just like the others and that is why Mombasa Municipal Council is offering them the opportunity to study," she said.

She said once a child is remanded or convicted by a court, they are assessed by teachers from approved schools for proper placement.

She also said the number of pupils enrolling in special schools for the physically handicapped was on the increase too.

"We have four municipal special schools and one unit to cater for those in need of education," she said.

The municipality has 88 primary schools but only four are for the physically handicapped.

She said the schools depend on donors such as Lions Club, religious organisations, well wishers and the government for funding.

Speaking at her office in Mombasa, Kirongo said enrolment had increased as a result of awareness created in the community.

"The number of children in these schools was low but after we started creating awareness in the community, things have improved," she said.

The schools include Likoni for the Blind, Ziwani for the Deaf, Pwani for the Mentally Handicapped and Port Reitz for the Disabled and Tom Mboya unit for the cerebral palsy located at Tom Mboya Primary School in Tononoka.

She also said that the cerebral palsy unit had enrolled more children compared to the previous years.

In KCPE performance, she said there was a great improvement in most subjects except mathematics.

However, she said children at the cerebral palsy unit had not reached the stage of doing national examinations.

"The children have a lot to learn at the unit apart from reading and writing," she said.

Some of the pupils at the unit are trained on how to cater for their day to day needs without assistance.

Kirongo said that plans were underway to have children with disabilities to join normal schools.

"Some of the children are from poor families in the rural areas and parents find it difficult to take them to special schools situated in Mombasa town," she said.

She said a programme for teachers to train on how to handle children with special needs was already in place.

She said 100 teachers within the province graduated last year, adding that more are to be trained this year.

"The distance learning training will enable the teachers to cater for both normal and children with special needs in the same school,"she said.

Copyright © 2003 The East African Standard. All rights reserved.