Relevance of vocational training for Persons with Orthopedic disabilities at The Nairobi Industrial Rehabilitation Centre, Kenya
Nyamoki, A. M. Rosemary
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The point of departure for this study was the reality that there are many people with orthopedic disabilities in the streets of Nairobi most of whom are beggars. Worse still, a number of them have been to one or another of the training institutions in Kenya specifically meant for persons with disabilities. It is expected that after the training such people would find more productive things to do related to their training and as such, they would engage in career activities rather than beg on the streets. People with orthopedic disabilities and indeed all persons with disabilities, need a wider access to relevant training that should as much as possible be similar to that offered to their able-bodied peers, and extra services to facilitate their employment. Guided by this premise, this study sought to investigate the relevance of courses offered to individuals with orthopedic disabilities at the Nairobi Industrial Rehabilitation Centre (lRC). The study adopted a descriptive survey design. Population under study consisted of 1,693 individuals including the manager of the institution, 7 instructors, 24 trainees with orthopedic disabilities, 7 employers and 1,654 former trainees possibly in employment. From this population, non-probability sampling techniques were employed to sample 61 participants. Data collection was done using four sets of questionnaires and an interview guide. The questionnaires were developed to gather information from instructors, trainees, graduates in employment and employers, while the interview guide was used to gather information from the manager of the institution. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse data. The main findings of the study showed that the courses offered at the IRC included carpentry, leatherwork, metalwork, electronics, secretarial studies, telephone operation, tailoring and dressmaking. Also that the instructors had many years of teaching experience, but had inadequate training in Special Education, low academic and professional qualifications. In addition, most of the former trainees in employment did jobs/businesses related to their training, although other indicators of relevance were found wanting. Further, IRC had informal link with only one organization, the Association of the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK). There was therefore need to recommend diversification of courses to give trainees an array of options; development of staff through regular in-service courses particularly in Special Education; establishment of formal links with potential employers to ease employment of graduates, and creation of database of graduates' contacts for follow up and research purposes.