Nature and prevalance of learning diasbilities among standard three primary school pupils in Starehe division of Nairobi province, Kenya
Rasungu, K.O Grace
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Despite government efforts to enhance Free Primary Education (FPF) programme in Kenya so as to meet the international commitments such as Education for All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS), there are still many children who are not in school globally, with some of them dropping out early or not reaching the minimal learning class. Limited research has been done to find out the nature and prevalence of learning disabilities (LD), the extent and their distribution in Kenya (MOE, 2003). The study focused on the nature and prevalence of learning disabilities among standard three pupils in Starehe. The specific objectives of the study were: to find out if there were LD among primary school pupils in Starehe Division, their nature and prevalence, measures being undertaken to assist pupils in actual classroom situations and what can be done to manage learners with L,D in primary schools. Guided by the developmental psychology theory, the study adopted a descriptive design which was conducted in 5 schools from Central zone of Starehe division in Nairobi. Whereas the population of the study included 16 head teachers, 236 teachers and 961 standard three pupils., the study involved 5 head teachers, 7 standard three teachers and 150 standard three pupils who were randomly sampled using the lottery technique. The study instruments included questionnaires for head teachers and standard three teachers, Pupil Rating Scale and pupil tests. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, which were summarized in frequencies and percentages and presented in relevant tabulation charts. The study found that there could be pupils with LD majority of whom had a high level of difficulty in the tests administered in English and Math (100% and 63.3% failure respectfully). The common types of errors noted in English included; poor visual-motor coordination, difficulty in copying accurately, spacing of letters and words, letter and word reversals, poor handwriting, repetition of sentences, omission of some words and letters, overprinting to correct mistakes, grammatical mistakes (punctuations, spellings and capitalization), inadequate expression of ideas and vocabulary, poor organizational skills, unreadable letters and words, non-attempt or slowness in completing work. While in Math, most pupils totally failed in items that tested their skills in spatial order and relationships, division, time and money. Whereas teachers appeared to know what LD is, and reported using various approaches together with mitigation measures to counter challenges faced, this perhaps was more theoretical than practical if the results of testing are anything to go by. The study recommends for formulation of policies to provide for learners with LD, appropriate teacher curriculum with more Special Education units, strengthening of on-going assessment and a tracking system for analyzing pupils' academic progress.