Intergration of the visually impaired into the mainstream of vocational training in Kenya: a comparative
The task of this study was to examine the possibilities of integrating visually imparied students (VI) into the mainstream of Vocational training in Youth Polytechnics. the belief that VI need wider access to training facilities and that such a training must be as normal as possible were guiding principles to the study. This, it was assumed could be attained by integrating the VI into a wide range of institutions such as Youth Polytechnics. Data was collected from four institutions: Two Youth Polytechnics (YPs) and two Vocational Rehabilitation Centres (VRCs). The managers instructors and trainees of these institutions were interviewed and/or given questionnaires. Document analysis was used to get information from other countries with integrated programmes. Three research questions guided the data collections; * What are the possibilites of integrating the VI into VPs? * What are the implications of such an integration? * What lessons can be learnt from an integrated system to aid the Kenyan system? In view of the foregoing research questions, there were a number of important findings. The findings of the study portrayed that though the idea of integrating the VI was a feasible and viable option, the YPs in their present state cannot successfully accommodate and train the VI. Three major shortcomings were identified:- * YPs did not have the tools and equipment suitable for the VI * YP instructors did not have adequate knowledge on the VI and expertise to handle an integrated class * The social environment was not conducive in that both the VI and the sighted had unfavourable attitudes towards each other mainly because there was a lack of contact between the two populations. They were therefore largely opposed to an integration programme. The study concludes that these shortcomings can be and should be redressed in order to provide an alternative approcach to vocational training of the VI. Such a move would serve the dual role of widening opposed to segregated and institutionalised training which is against the normalisation principles. The study therefore recommends that attempts should be made to consider such an integration of the VI into Youth Polytechnics. The vocational training needs of the VI should be met by a combined effort of the government, the community and the NGOs that have continued to provide education services for the VI. The government in particular needs to formulate policies widening access to the disabled. A sensitisation programme should be launched to promote awareness on disability. The community must take the initiative to raise funds to support the disabled. The NGOs can also support by especially offering monitoring and evaluation services.