Learning Challenges faced by Special Needs Education Learners in Public Primary Schools in Mvita Division, Mombasa County, Kenya
Mutugi, Lilian Wanja
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The purpose of this study was to identify learning challenges faced by special need education learners in public primary schools in Mvita division, Mombasa County. The objectives of the study are: 1) To investigate social culture challenges facing learners in special need education in public schools 2) To assess school related challenges facing learners in special needs education in public schools, 3). To determine teacher based challenges facing learners in special need education in public primary schools and 4). To evaluate social-economic challenges facing learners in special need education in public primary schools. The study used the descriptive survey research design. The target populations for this study included all primary public schools head teachers, teachers, parents and special needs education pupils in Mvita division. The main data collection tools for this study were questionnaires, interview schedules and focus group discussions. This study applied both quantitative and qualitative approaches to process, analyze and interpret the data. However, to a larger extent data was analyzed by the use of descriptive statistics. The study found that most schools did not have adequate physical facilities thus disadvantaging a number of children with special needs in the society. The Salamanca statement and framework for action on special needs education of 1994 emphasized the schools need to change and adapt the diverse needs of all learners. Many parents (82.61%) strongly agreed to the suggestion that there should be increased funding in special need education to cater for the instructional materials used by these learners. Majority of the teachers (44.44%) strongly agreed that they lacked commitment and skills with regard to SNE learning. The findings of the study indicated that teachers lack necessary skills and knowledge to implement inclusion of learners with special needs. The study also found that there were inadequate instructional materials for SNE learning. The findings also found out that schools lacked essential facilities that aid learning of SNE pupils, for example ramps for learners who are physically challenged, hearing aids among others. Parents who have children with disabilities are at times alienated by the community as they are perceived to be curse carriers who gave birth to cursed children. There is need to sensitize the community on the importance of inclusion of all and discrimination of none. Teachers perceived that their professional knowledge and skills were inadequate to effectively teach students with disabilities in regular schools. Head teachers suggested that there is need to increase funding in the Free Primary Education to cater for learners with disabilities. The study recommended the teacher training both pre-service and in-service is essential to develop the skills necessary to teach successfully in inclusive settings. This could be done with the collaboration of the Ministry of Education, Kenya Institute of Special Education and local universities.