School Factors Influencing Provision of Quality Early Grade Education for Pupils with Learning Disabilities in Nairobi City County, Kenya
Kariuki, N. Grace
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Quality early childhood education especially for pupils with learning disabilities (LD‟s) must provide nurturing environments that foster their physical, socio-emotional and cognitive development while at the same time responding to the needs of their families. Despite this knowledge, reviewed studies show a decline in children‟s learning performance, while others drop out of school, which causes concern over the quality of education they received. Thus, this study aimed at finding out the school based factors affecting the provision of quality education to pupils with learning disabilities in their early grade years in Kasarani sub county Nairobi City County, Kenya. The research study was based on seven objectives: to find out the prevalence of children with learning disabilities in early childhood years and to establish the influence of teachers‟ qualifications; their salary; school infrastructure; teaching/ learning materials; lesson supervision and curriculum content on the provision of quality early childhood education to this group of learners. The theory of social constructivism by Vygotsky (1978) was adopted. Descriptive survey design guided the study using mixed methods. The target population comprised of 25 head teachers and 55 classroom teachers. Simple random sampling technique was used to purposively select 8 (32%) early grade schools, 16 (29%) teachers and 8 (32%) head teachers. The research instruments included interviews for the head teachers, questionnaires for teachers and learning task for PP2 pupils. Four schools were utilised for piloting the research instruments in order to validate the study content based on the study objectives while test- retest reliability technique at coefficient of 0.7 was used to determine their soundness. Quantitative data collected was analysed using descriptive statistics such as frequencies, means and percentages while qualitative data was summarised and analysed according to specific study themes. The study established that provision of quality early grade education in Kasarani Sub-county has been hampered by many challenges such as lack of enough teaching and learning materials, trained personnel in special education and low salary for teachers. The study also found out that there was inappropriate curriculum for LD, inadequate physical facilities and supervision, subsequently affecting the quality of ECE for pupils with learning disabilities. It has thus been recommended that there be more training of teachers to handle learners with LD. It has also been recommended that curriculum review process should ensure it makes the content more appropriate for learners with LD. The government should also increase budgetary allocation in preprimary schools in order to improve the infrastructure as well as teaching/learning materials for use by pupils with learning disabilities, among others. These findings will create awareness to the Ministry of Education, policy makers and educators about the school based factors influencing the performance of learners with LD in preprimary schools so that appropriate measures may be taken to improve the current situation. The study will also form the basis on which other researchers could develop more related studies.