Challenges Trainees with Visual Impairment Encounter in Learning Orientation and Mobility: Case of Study, Masaka Rehabilitation Center for the Blind in Kigali, Rwanda
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This study analyzed the challenges trainees with Visual Impairment encounter in learning Orientation and Mobility at Masaka Rehabilitation Center for the Blind, Kigali, Rwanda. Masaka rehabilitation center is the only existing center in Rwanda which trains people with Visual Impairment in O and M. In fact, the loss of sight has a negative impact on Orientation and Mobility since this is the main sense organ which assist people in their movement. Specific objectives of the study sought to: Identify the challenges related to the professional qualification of trainers on the training of O&M among trainees, assess the availability of an appropriate curriculum for O&M for the trainees, determine available resources for the training of O&M among trainees and assess the skills acquired in O&M among trainees with VI at MRCB. The study was based on Social Cognitive Theory by Albert Bandura (1977). The theory was used in the study widely to provide a means of assessing and supporting progress in the development of skills/competencies on O&M. The study adopted a case study research design. The study targeted 142 respondents comprising of 5 trainers, 135 trainees and 2 administrators. Using purposive sampling, 4 trainers, 133 trainees and 1 administrator were sampled giving total of 138 respondents. Interview schedules and questionnaires were used to collect data. Data collected was analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Frequency distribution tables and percentages were used to express the data. Qualitative data obtained from different explanations were presented in a narrative form. The findings of the research indicated that there wasn’t a standard O&M curriculum developed or being used, there were no qualified O&M instructors and further on that there lacked enough O&M resources at MRCB. These factors were noted to impact on the level of skills acquisition in O&M. However, respondents still acknowledged that the training at MRCB provided some important O&M skills to the trainees which left them much more independent than when they joined the institution. In conclusion, the study noted that MRCB was imparting important O&M skills in the lives of the trainees. Various recommendations to improve training were established: the need to train existing trainers and employ other professional O&M trainers, a well-developed O&M curriculum to expand the content of the training, acquisition of adequate O&M resources necessarily to facilitate the training, and finally, differentiating learning in the O&M class since individual differences exist amongst the trainees which impacts on the pace of skills acquisitions.