Challenges facing implementation of inclusive education in public primary schools in Mwea East District, Kirinyaga County, Kenya
Mungai, Beatrice Wangari
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Inclusive education is the practice of teaching learners with special education needs alongside their normal peers in regular classroom setting, instead of segregating them in special classrooms. Inclusive education emanates from the belief that the right to education is a basic human right and a foundation for a more just society. Any student can learn and benefit from education. Schools should therefore adapt to the needs of all students.Despite many efforts geared to successful implementation of inclusive education in public primary schools in Kenya, there are still numerous challenges facing this area. Students who have learning disabilities find it extremely challenging to enjoy their rights to education because of their conditions. Many find it difficult to fit into the normal school environment, hence making the process of learning even more difficult. As a result many of them drop out of the school system. The purpose of this study was to investigate the challenges facing implementation of inclusive education programme in public primary schools in Mwea East in Kirinyaga County District. The study was guided by four research objectives including establishing the types of special need pupils in the district, determining the challenges faced by teachers in implementing inclusive education, determining resource needs for implementation of inclusive education and comparing performance of the special need pupils with the rest. The literature review shed light on the various aspects of inclusive education inside and outside classroom environment and involvement of teachers in this type of programme. The study targeted the school heads and teachers from all the 66 public primary schools in Mwea East District and applied simple random sampling technique to select schools, and then purposive sampling was used to select head teachers and teachers. Questionnaires were used to collect data. The study revealed that there are learners with different kinds of special needs in education in this district and an acute shortage of teaching and learning resources to cater for learning disability in inclusive settings. The findings also revealed that the teachers who are present in inclusive classrooms lacked adequate training and qualifications to handle students with learning disabilities. Performance of special need students was also relatively poor. We can therefore conclude that implementation of inclusive education is a big challenge in this district. Based on these findings the following recommendations can be made; The Ministry of Education should consider increasing the availability of special needs courses, workshops and conferences for teachers in public primary schools who are working with students with learning disabilities in inclusive settings. The government should also consider providing more funding to improve the infrastructure such as buildings, washrooms, playground and ramps to cater for learners with special needs. A similar study should be replicated in various parts of the country so as to get a better picture of the status of inclusive education programme in public primary schools in Kenya.Curricula should be developed with methods of assessment that must include a variety of strategies to accommodate learners with special educational needs. Teachers should take courses that will enable them to cope with the demands for inclusion of learners with special educational needs in school.