Enhancing Access to Secondary Education for Learners with Disabilities in Kisii District of Kisii County, Kenya
An estimated 10% of the World‟s population is disabled and children form a big fraction of this number. Approximately 80% of persons with disabilities reside in isolated areas in developing countries especially in slum and informal settlements in cities and in poor households in rural areas. While some of these countries have made progress towards achieving universal primary education (UPE) by 2015, children with disabilities have not achieved optimal access to education; their enrollment rate is still low. The few that enroll in primary schools are not able to move to secondary schools after primary education due to such hindrances as high cost and entry criteria among other factors. The purpose of this study was to investigate what hinders learners with disabilities from accessing secondary education and how these hindrances can be addressed so that optimal access to secondary education for these learners will be achieved. The objectives of the study were to investigate whether children with disabilities from the primary cycle in Kisii District are able to move to secondary schools or not and what hinders those who do not access secondary education with the aim of suggesting strategies that may be employed to enhance their access to secondary education. A survey research design was used to find out the level of access to secondary education and the hindrances to access. The target population was 21327 learners and 764 teachers drawn from 3 special schools, 17 special units, and 60 public secondary schools in the district. 32 Ministry of Education officials from the district were also studied. Questionnaires, interview schedules and observation check lists were used as instruments to collect data. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics like frequencies and percentages by use of the SPSS computer package. The collected data was presented inform of tables and pie charts. The study established that enrollment of learners with disabilities was still low in the district with most secondary schools recording less than three learners and the total district enrollment standing at below 1500 learners both in primary and secondary schools. The major hindrances of access were said to be: limited number of accommodative schools, inadequate special education teachers in existing schools, poverty and financial hardships and discrimination arising from retrogressive culture. The suggested strategies to enhance access were identified as: modification of existing schools to make them accessible and accommodative to learners with disabilities, training and in- servicing teachers on special education and community sensitization to eliminate the stigma attached to persons with disabilities.