Analysis of the Adaptations Required for Access and Retention of Learners with Visual Impairments in Regular Universal Primary Education (UPE) Schools
Niyisabwa, Odette Tumwesigye
Muthee, Jessina M.
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The purpose of the study was to analyse the adaptations required for access and retention of Learners with Visual Impairments (LVI) in regular Universal Primary Education (UPE) schools. The study was conducted in seven districts within South Western Uganda.The objectives of the study were to determine the curriculum adaptations that had been put in place to suit the needs of LVI, and to establish the physical adaptations that had been put in the environment to facilitate access and retention of LVI in regular UPE schools. The study adapted the theory of access by Ribot and Peluso (2003) which deals with all possible means by which a person is able to benefit from things, and it was supplemented by the theory of adaptation by Sherrill (2008) which deals with strategies to enable a person achieve the stipulated rights. The target population was learners with visual impairments (LVI) from established integrated schools and from regular UPE schools, Teachers of LVI from established integrated schools and from regular UPE schools, head teachers from established integrated and regular UPE schools, plus inspectors of schools incharge od Special Needs Education. This paper presents findings obtained through a mixed method research design involving both qualitative and quantitative descriptive methods with a sample of 147 respondents. Raw data was obtained through questionnaires, interviews, observation and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). The Qualitative data was analysed using thematic anslysis and descriptive statistical analysis. The main findings were that there were almost no curriculum adaptations made in the regular UPE schools due to lack of training of teachers on how to implement the newly modified curriculum which had provisions for Special Needs Education; and both regular UPE schools and established integrated schools lacked most of the required adaptations to enable LVI easily access the learning facilities and the general school environment. Overall, the school administrators and teachers generally lacked preparedness to make environmental and curriculum daptations for LVI. The study recommends a comprehensive training of teachers in curriculum adaptations for LVI through short courses, and sensitization to the school administrators and teachers of both regular UPE schools and established integrated schools to aggressively put in place the physical adaptations that were required in order to create accessible physical environments for LVI.