Challenges facing integration of visually impaired learnersin public primary schools in Trans-nzoia West District
Njoroge, Peter Kinyanjui
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The study sought to investigate the challenges facing integration of the visually impaired (VI) learners in public primary schools in Trans-Nzoia West district. The objectives of the study were; To assess the teaching and learning materials provided in addressing the education needs of the visually impaired learners in Trans-Nzoia West District; To establish the influence of teacher training in promoting the integration of visually impaired children in Trans-Nzoia West District; To establish the contributions of key stakeholders in addressing the needs of visually impaired children in Trans-Nzoia West District; To determine possible strategies to promote integration of the visually impaired in Trans-Nzoia West District. The study adopted the descriptive survey study research design. The study population included the 25 head teachers, 25 contact teachers in the 25 integrated public primary schools and 40 visually impaired learners. Study population also included the Educational Assessment and Resource centre coordinator (EARC). A study sample of 5 head teachers (20%), 5 contact teachers (20%) and 10 visually impaired learners (25%) was selected through the purposive sampling. Questionnaires were used for the contact teachers, visually impaired learners and head teachers and interview schedule for the EARe coordinator. The questionnaires for the visually impaired learners in the category of low vision were in normal print. This is because they were using the optical low vision devices to read while the Braille readers had their questionnaires brailled. The Braille users were instructed to use letter Y for YES responses, letter X for NO responses and numeral 2 for I DON'T KNOW responses. This was found appropriate for them for section B. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches were applied appropriately in such a way as to maximize their strengths and to minimize their limitations. The collected data was thematically analysed and measures of central tendency, frequencies and percentiles used. Bar graphs and tables were used to present the analysed data. Research findings indicated that visually impaired children in schools were not many and that there was insufficiency of learning materials and few trained teachers in the field. The research also found out that the teachers in the schools assumed the role of supervisors. The common strategies to ensuring success of the integrated programme as proposed by a majority of the respondents included improving the teacher-visually impaired children ratio, encouraging more NGO support, soliciting for more government support and ensuring that the schools through the head teachers provided the required resource rooms and materials to help manage the visually impaired children in the schools. The information collected was helpful to the stakeholders both at the Ministry of Education and at the school level in carrying out reforms that ensured proper integration of the visually impaired learners.