Barriers to Inclusive Education for Learners with Visual Impairments in Four Primary Schools in Kisii County, Kenya
Namwaki, Wakube Janet
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The goal of inclusion is not to eliminate differences, but to enable all students to fit in to an educational community that validates and values their individuality. This is why inclusive education advocates for full participation of learners with visual impairments in all activities within a regular school. This requires analysis of the constraints and challenges faced by primary schools in implementing inclusion. These barriers to inclusive education account for the major concern in this study. The purpose of the study was, therefore, to investigate how these barriers hinder implementation of inclusive education. The study was based on four primary schools in Kisii County. Kisii County was appropriate for this study because it has got very low enrolment of learners with visual impairments in primary schools. This study was guided by Vygostky‟s social/ cultural learning theory. The study reviewed literature to support the research topic. The study adopted a descriptive research design which utilized both qualitative and quantitative techniques for data collection. The target population consisted of all school administrators, teachers, sighted learners and learners with visual impairments from the four primary schools. The sample size was 60 respondents. Purposive sampling and simple random techniques were used to sample respondents for the proposed study. Data collection instruments included questionnaires and an interview guide. The questionnaires consisted of both closed and open-ended questions which gave room for opinions. An interview guide was also used for learners with visual impairments. Data were organized descriptively and thematically. The findings indicated that there were barriers to Inclusive Education for learners with VI in the four primary schools in Kisii County. They included; lack of training in SNE by most teachers, lack of resources/materials and other facilities, unmodified environment, negative attitude towards inclusive education and towards learners with VI. The study recommended that; the Kenya Intergraded Education Progamme to ensure that special education services and resources are made adequate to learners with VI in Kisii County, teachers trained in Special Needs Education should make sure that all educational materials for learners with visual impairments are provided in the appropriate media for instance in large print or in braille and finally, special education teachers in charge of the resource rooms should assist on how to modify the physical environment in schools including learners with visual impairments.