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February 24, 2003

Noble Kise Plan for Handicapped Pupils

From:, Africa - 24 Feb 2003

The East African Standard (Nairobi)

Clarice Jerono

The Kenya Institute of Special Education (Kise) plans to post at least one teacher in all schools across the country by 2005.

P1 teachers with three-four years experience will be given the first priority in the appointments.

Kise Finance Director, Mr Ezekiel Ohando, says the institute will facilitate the training of more teachers through distance learning after which they will graduate with certificates and diplomas.

An average of 80 teachers graduate annually from Kise, a number stakeholders say is too low to meet the needs of thousands of children with special needs.

Sixteen pilot districts will be identified with Nairobi being divided into eight regions to monitor teacher distribution in the specified districts.

Currently there are 12,940 children in special schools and 11,000 in integrated programmes.

Children with hearing impairment number 3,604 (2,631 in special schools and 973 in integrated programmes in 31 schools for the deaf and 39 units with about 340 teachers out of which only 140 are trained in special education).

There are four secondary schools country-wide for the deaf which cater for about 200 students, two technical and vocational schools, and two technical training institutes for the deaf. Several primary schools also offer vocational programmes.

With the implementation of the free education policy, more teachers are required to meet the needs of the rising number of children with disabilities.

Stakeholders have criticised the Narc Government for ignoring children with special needs in its free universal primary education that was launched in January. Most of the children with special needs have been enrolled in public schools which do not have specially trained teachers.

Ohando says special education classes will now be integrated in public schools where children will be tested according to their capabilities as opposed to testing them alongside those without any disabilities.

Ohando is however optimistic that with the teachers in place, the disabled will receive equal learning opportunities in public schools adding that the disabled will not be required to enrol in special schools anymore.

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