EDUCATION

Special needs teachers trained on ICT integration

The teachers being trained handle learners with special needs in their early years of education.

In Summary

• The five-day workshop at the Kenya Institute of Special Education  will run concurrently with University of Rwanda college of education and Uganda

• It seeks equip teachers from Kiambu, Kajiado, Nairobi and Machakos counties with ICT skills and impart them to learners with special abilities.

Ministry of Education officer Sheilla Lutta with teachers during the training of special needs teachers in ICT integration to schools at the Kenya Institute of Special Needs Education
Ministry of Education officer Sheilla Lutta with teachers during the training of special needs teachers in ICT integration to schools at the Kenya Institute of Special Needs Education
Image: STANLEY NJENGA

Teachers in special needs institutions from four counties are being trained on assistive technologies and accessible digital textbooks to impart ICT literacy to learners.

The five-day workshop at the Kenya Institute of Special Education  will run concurrently with University of Rwanda and in Uganda.

It seeks equip teachers from Kiambu, Kajiado, Nairobi and Machakos counties with ICT skills and impart them to learners with special abilities.

It is sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in partnership with Ministry of Education, Directorate of Special Needs, Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative and UN Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, among other partners.

KISE director Norman Kiogora said it has been difficult for learners to get suitable assistive devices and conducive for their different levels, and the project will help teachers know the suitable devices for learners.

"There is goodwill from the government and partners and they are in agreement of ICT integration to special needs learners. The teachers are ready and excited to learn so that they can translate the knowledge to their learners," Kiogora said.

The teachers being trained  handle learners with special needs in their early years of education.

"Our aim is to train them to use different assistive technologies, accessible digital textbooks to improve learning and make learning easier for learners with disabilities," Samuel Otieno, the monitoring, evaluation, research and learning specialist at GESCI, said. 

Otieno said only four counties had been picked as the programme is at the pilot stage.

He further noted that the aim of the project is to galvanize the East African region around the use of assistive technologies for inclusive learning.

Scolla Mercy Mkandoo, a teacher of hearing impaired children at Aga Khan Primary School, Nairobi, said the training will equip her technology skills.

"Though I attended a forum by Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development on how to integrate lessons on ICT, the training here will also enhance my knowledge on how to help the hearing impaired children in our school,"Mkandoo said.

Samuel Mwangi, who teaches at Kilimani deaf blind unit said the ICT integration, especially digital textbooks, is important as it will assist his pupils access information they cannot get otherwise.

"There are ICT programmes that will help the visually impaired learners and there are those interested in ICT devices, which will go a long way in helping them gain knowledge. Once I am trained on how to handle the technologies, then I will be able to help the learners," Mwangi said. 

Sheilla Lutta from the Ministry of Education said they are committed in implementing the inclusive education policy.

"The directorate is collaborating with various partners who are coming up with real time interventions in inclusive ICT," Lutta said.

She said the digital literacy programme has helped devices be put up in schools and fitted with necessary technologies for learners with visual impairments and fitted with content so that learners with hearing impairments can be assisted.

"When our regular learners were receiving tablets, children with disabilities were receiving laptops. We have other partners assisting the ministry with devices such as orbit readers to learners in Grade 1,2 and 3 and have covered 27 counties and other different donors have equipped some schools with necessary devices," she said.  

Lutta, however, said the ministry is raising awareness on teachers on ECD and at PP2 level that special needs educators to have access to information required on how to interact with the devices. 

Special needs educators, partners and sponsors pose for a group photo during the official launch of training of teachers for special needs schools within four counties a pilot project sponsored by UNESCO
Special needs educators Special needs educators, partners and sponsors pose for a group photo during the official launch of training of teachers for special needs schools within four counties a pilot project sponsored by UNESCO
Image: STANLEY NJENGA