Influence of individualized educational program on learners with learning difficulties in public primary schools in Mwingi District, Kitui County, Kenya
Ndanu, Felistus David
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The central problem of this study was that despite applying several teaching/learning strategies to facilitate teaching/learning processes, the performance of learners with learning difficulties is quite dismal. To this end the purpose of this study was to determine the influence of individualized educational programme in assisting learners with learning difficulties so as to improve their academic performance in the selected primary schools in Nuu Division, Mwingi District. The objectives of this study were to establish the nature or categories of learning difficulties of the learners in public primary schools in Nuu Division. To find out how the administrative structure was put in place to implement the individualized educational program in terms of resources, equipment and the teachers capacity in public primary schools in Nuu Division. To find out the issues and challenges which the teachers were facing in implementing individualized educational program in Nuu Division. To establish the measures which had been put in place by administrative structure to meet the issues and challenges facing teachers in implementing individualized educational program in Nuu Division. To establish the influence of individualized educational program on academic performance of learners with learning difficulties through the teaching, monitoring and evaluation processes. Survey design was used to collect information on the influence of individualized educational program through administering special needs education questionnaires to a sample of teachers and also by the use of special needs education interview schedule for head teachers and area education officer. The target population included 10 schools in Nuu Division, 35 teachers, 10 head teachers and 1 area education officer. The sample size was 46 respondents. The sampling technique used to select the anticipated sample included purposive sampling technique. To pilot the research instruments, the constructed research instruments were pre-tested to a selected sample, which was similar to the actual sample used in the study. Research instruments included special needs education questionnaires which were administered to the teachers and special needs education interview schedule were administered to head teachers and area education officer. To validate the research instruments, a panel of three teachers who were practicing individualized educational program in their schools were requested to assess the relevance of the content used in the research instruments developed. A test-retest was used to estimate the degree to which the same results could be obtained with a repeated measure of accuracy of the same concept in order to determine the reliability of the research instruments. The data collection instruments included special needs education questionnaires prepared for teachers selected for the study while interview schedule were developed for the head teachers and Area education officer. The data collected were edited and initial analysis was done. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data collected. The study revealed that the use of IEP and use of other strategies were effective in enhancing the learners with learning difficulties. However from the study it was concluded that there were no adequate resources to handle the learners with learning difficulties. The individualized educational program greatly enhanced the performance of learners with learning difficulties. Hence it was recommended that the teachers to attend more refresher courses in order to be competent in handling learners with learning difficulties. The teachers to use more varied methods to identify learners with learning difficulties under their care.