INTEGRATING PLWD

Teachers training to focus on special needs learners

The PS plans to set up at least two schools for disabled children, to admit able students

In Summary

• New breed of teachers will be equipped with the basic skills to teach in an integrated class.

• The first cohort of diploma trainees was admitted to Teacher Training colleges in May, the second joins in September.

All teachers in the new diploma training programme will be trained in handling special needs learners, Education PS Julius Jwan has said.

The diploma teachers training replaces the traditional certificate programme otherwise referred to as P1 training.

“The current training does not provide teachers with skills to handle learners with special needs," Jwan said on Wednesday.

"In the new teacher training program they will be equipped with basic skills to teach an integrated class,” the PS said.

He was speaking during a virtual meeting with the Senate Committee on Education.

The first cohort of diploma trainees was admitted to Teacher Training colleges in May, the second joins in September.

Prospective trainees must have a mean grade of C (plain) in KCSE with a C (plain) in two subjects they wish to teach upon graduating.

The ministry said the new entry grade was occasioned by the demands of the Competency-Based Curriculum.

The plan, Jwan says is to ensure that learners with mild disabilities are effectively accommodated in a normal classroom setting.

He added that he plans to set up at least two schools for disabled children which will also admit those who have no disability.

The proposal reviews an earlier one by Bomet Central MP Ronald Tonui. 

The MP sought to compel the Education ministry to build at least a day  primary and secondary school for disabled learners in each county.

The proposal, sought to amend the Basic Education (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

However, nominated senator Getrude Musuruve, argues against such a plan.

She says the plan discriminates against persons living with disability by isolating them from the general school setting.

Musuruve suggested that segregating special needs learners in their own schools has a ripple effect on the learners.

She added that learners have a hard time in adapting and integrating with the community after completion of their education.

"Around the world, the trend is moving towards inclusion. Governments are now opting for learners with and without special needs in same institutions,” Museruve said.

However, PS Jwan argues that such a proposal is only applicable where the special needs are partial.

“In severe cases, the learners cannot be accommodated in a normal classroom set,"Jwan argued.

The PS  also plans to develop the Kenya Institute of Special Education into an autonomous institutions to effectively support education for special needs learners.

This includes equipping of special needs institutions at county level.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)