The history of special education in Kenya : a case of Kisumu and Nyando districts 1945-2003
Orinda, Jacob Onyango
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This study focuses on the history of Special Education in Kisumu and Nyando Districts of Kenya, 1945-2003.11 examines the type of Education given to the youth before the colonial government and the missionaries. It argues that the colonial government was not concerned with the education of the Africans except to the extent that the education would give Africans minimal skills for use in colonial labor force. Equally the missionaries opened up catechism centers for religious institutions and basic schools for elementary instructions on arithmetic, reading and writing. The study established that from 1945, Special Education programs were started in Kenya mainly spearheaded by churches like the Salvation Army. the Catholic and other charitable organizations such as the Aghakan foundation. It is evident through the study that the Kenya government was aware of the needs of the disabled children as evident in the first education commission's report of 1964 which put forward some recommendations on the care to be put in place. Subsequent education commissions gave some recommendations on what was to be done towards the education of the handicapped but there was not much implementation until late1980's when training of teachers for the handicapped was centralized at Kenya Institute of Special Education. But still only four areas of handicap have been addressed at K.I.S.E programs for the gifted and talented and even adult literacy for disabled persons have not been addressed by the government. This further deny a big number of persons with Special Needs the services they deserve. The study found out that Special Education in Nyando and Kisumu Districts only gained ground with the establishment of Nvabondo center for the disabled, Kibos school for the blind in early 1960's, the establishment of Maseno school for the deaf and Joyland school for the physically handicapped in1970's. The institutions named above were initiated by the churches, a fact that confirms the little role the government played in providing education to the disabled. It must however be noted that the government contributed by providing teachers for the special programs though much supervision and management was left in the hands of the sponsors, a fact which compromised quality and led to some conflicts in administration. The study has established that the challenges that face Special Education in Nyando and Kisumu Districts includes lack challenges physical facilities, qualified personnel, attitude by non disabled, funding. access and participation among others. Even though some of these are being addressed, when compared to the non-handicapped, people with disabilities are still highly disadvantaged.