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Senators propose punitive law to improve special needs education

The bill fronted by Senator Getrude Musuruve and Margaret Kamar to ensure persons with disabilities attend school regularly

In Summary
  • The Bill fronted by Senator Getrude Musuruve and Margaret Kamar seeks to ensure persons with disabilities attend school regularly.
  • The learners in this category should also to be allocated opportunities for the apprenticeship and internships.
Nalondo special school in Bungoma
Nalondo special school in Bungoma
Image: TONY WAFULA

Parents may soon be held accountable for depriving special needs children learning opportunities, if a Senate proposal on access to education sails through.

A Bill has been submitted to the senate education committee for consideration.

The Bill fronted by Senator Getrude Musuruve and Margaret Kamar seeks to ensure persons with disabilities attend school regularly.

The two propose that action should be taken against parents who fail to comply.

“The parent or guardian shall be liable, on conviction, to a warning in the first instance and a fine not exceeding Sh5,000 for any subsequent offence,” the Bill reads.

The people held accountable will be required to submit the reason for leaner’s absence at school.

Before learners are admitted to Special Needs Education (SNE) centres or registered as persons with disabilities, a few procedures will be followed.

First, the individual will undergo assessment conducted by professionals.

This will help to determine the severity of the disability to allow for appropriate placement.

“An assessment report prepared shall be used, with other such information as the basis for placement of a learner to an educational programme or institution,” the report reads.

The Bill also seeks to provide a framework for accountability in the delivery of quality education.

This will also ensure a follow up of transition in learning for SNEs across all levels.

Institutions offering education to these learners have also been asked to ensure there is equitable treatment.

For learning strategies, the Bill wants the schools to use Kenyan sign language corresponding with learners’ needs.

The Bill proposes that learners should be given equal opportunities to engage in extracurricular activities and get reasonable accommodation.

“Ensure that boarding facilities in education institutions accommodate the needs of learners with special needs,” the Bill reads.

“Equal access to play, recreation, leisure, sports and other activities should be undertaken in the school system and ensure there is equal treatment with other learners.”

Further, the Bill also advocates for adequate funding of SNE and put in place strategies for delivery of quality education for the learners.

“Ensure that the learners’ transition from one level of education to the next including to institutions of higher learning.”

The Bill also wants  learners in this category to be allocated opportunities for the apprenticeship and internships in government and the private sector.

The proposals comes at a time when Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said special education will be supported by a new state of the art National Psycho-Assessment and Referral Centre at the Kenya Institute of Special Education.

This will strengthen educational assessment and facilitate the placement of children with special needs in appropriate programmes.

Magoha said they have  textbooks for hearing, physical and visual impairment and braille books for learners who are totally blind.

(Edited by Tabnacha O)

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