Factors influencing inclusion of learners with special needs in regular primary school in Rachuonyo district, Kenya
Mutisya, Celina Muthili Syanda
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The purpose of this study was to find out the factors influencing inclusion of learners with special needs in regular primary schools. The study was undertaken to find out whether regular primary schools have characteristics that support inclusion. This was done by finding out school characteristics that support inclusion in regular primary schools in Awach Zone of Kabondo division in Rachuonyo south district, Nyanza province of Kenya. This was found necessary due to the fact that despite the critical role and efforts of the government of Kenya to provide education for all, about 94% of the estimated 750,000 children with disabilities are hardly able to access basic quality education,. even during this era of free primary education. In Kenya, it is through assessment that most children with disabilities are placed in learning institutions. This has resulted to about 70.2% of those assessed being in the waiting list for placement in learning institutions. It is doubtful whether they can all be accommodated in the available special schools. However, even if the special schools were available, the other concern is that these schools and units mostly cater for some categories of children with special needs. This is an indication that provision of education for ALL the children with special needs is still an area of concern. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design. The independent variables comprised of teaching experience, professional qualification, teaching strategies, resources, support services and attitude among others. The dependent variable was inclusion. Target population of this study constituted all head teachers, teachers and class six pupils in regular primary schools in Awach Zone. Target population was 278 persons. The sample for this study was 88 persons. Purposive sampling as well as Random and Stratified sampling were used to select the sample. Piloting was done in Otondo Primary School in Awach zone. Data was collected using questionnaires. To determine reliability of the instrument, split half method was used. The researcher administered the questionnaires personally to the respondents. Both qualitative and quantitative techniques were used in analyzing data depending on various objectives. The study mainly reviewed that sensitization had effectively been done, hence the teachers, pupils and the community in general had positive attitude towards Persons With Disabilties. Trained teachers, adapted environment and appropriate resources were available hence this attracted enrollment of the Children With Disabilities in these schools. However it was noted that the schools needed funding to sustain their resources. All the respondents supported education for Children With Disabilities. All the teachers showed willingness to have Children With Disabilities in their schools. The researcher wishes to recommend that; - the government should implement inclusive education in regular schools, as a means of ensuring access to education by Children With Disabilities. Mass sensitization should be done and other factors portrayed in the study put in place. The government should continuously fund the process. The 2010 approved SNE policy guidelines should be implemented immediately.