Effective Inclusion of Learners with Mild Mental Retardation in Regular Primary Schools in Yatta District, Kenya
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the current status of public primary schools in teaching learners with mild mental retardation. The researcher sampled views of teachers on the situation currently obtaining, and assessed the availability, adequacy and adaptability of instructional resources and their effective utilization in schools in view of the educational, social, psychological and emotional needs of learners with mild mental retardation. Field education officers gave views on policy guidelines on inclusion o'f learners with special needs into regular schools. U~ng simple, random sampling technique, 6 public primary schools with a total enrolment of 3068 learners and 74 teachers were sampled from Yatta Division. Area Education Officer (AEO) and :the Educational Assessment and Resource Centre (EARC) Coordinator Yatta District were purposively sampled. Data collection instruments were a questionna.,i.-r-e--, for teachers, interview schedules for head teachers, .the AEO and the EARC coordinator.r Observation schedule for schoo s was used to collect data on the current status of schools' resources and their adaptability to appropriate learning environment for learners with mild mental retardation in the regular schools. Collected data Were placed under major themes identified by developing a coding system and placing all the coded materials under the major themes for interpretation. Frequencies and percentages were employed to complement description. Narrative passages were used to convey the findings of the analysis. The findings showed that there were significant relationships between professional training of teachers and effective inclusion of learners with mild mental retardation in regular schools. Though aware of the policy framework on inclusion, teachers were not prepared for this new set of learners. The available resource materials were inadequate and needed adaptation to suit the diverse needs of the learners for effective inclusion. Special Services are hardly offered in regular schools and this adversely affected effective inclusion of learners with mild mental retardation in primary schools in Yatta District. The findings showed a perfect correlation between teachers' professional training and their views on the best option for effective placement of learners with mild mental retardation in regular primary schools. The study objectives concurred with the research findings as it established that inclusion of learners with mild mental retardation will only succeed if teachers were professionally trained in SNE. It is recommended that MOE review primary teacher education and primary school curriculum as well as implementing SNE policy.