Children With Disabilities To Benefit From Inclusive Education.
Through a three-year holistic approach program sponsored by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in collaboration with the Government of Kenya, all children with disabilities across the Coast region are set to benefit from Inclusive Education.
The program is being implemented by the Kilifi County-based NGO Kesho-Kenya through PAMODZI, a project aimed at bridging the awareness gap and disconnect between inclusive education policies and implementation.
The project will bridge inclusion gaps among learners with disabilities not only in the Kenyan Coast region, but also in Malawi and Tanzania, where it will be implemented by other transnational consortium partner organizations.
Speaking to the press at the project launch on Friday, Evans Odhiambo, Executive Director of Kesho-Kenya, said the project will be able to evaluate inclusive education policies in the implementing countries as well as identify and address implementation challenges.
Odhiambo clarified that the project’s other primary goal is to work with the Kenyan government to increase budgetary allocations for inclusive education for children with disabilities.
Recent analyses, according to Odhiambo, show that funding for inclusive education has been steadily decreasing in recent fiscal years (FY2016/17 to FY2020/21).
Odhiambo explained that of ten children in special needs schools at the primary level, only five are able to transition to secondary schools, and of the five, the majority do not attend quality schools due to limited inclusion.
“One of our key commitment is to ensure that all the children with disabilities out of schools, in primaries, special needs institutions, secondary and integrated schools get the opportunity to attain quality and equitable education just like any other child in Kenya,” he added.
He revealed that there are still cases of children with disabilities being hidden in homes, deprived of their rights.
As a result, Odhiambo stated, obtaining accurate data on such children has proven to be a major challenge in implementing the program.
The Kesho-Kenya director, on the other hand, promised that through PAMODZI, they will conduct a survey to determine how many children with disabilities are not attending school, as well as how many are in school but are unable to obtain a quality education due to school conditions.
“We will map out all the children and the facilities put in place to help these children. With the data in our hands, we will be able to inform the communities about the responsible institutions so that they can obtain the necessary help,” Odhiambo said.
Mathias Tsuma, Regional Officer for the National Council for Persons with Disabilities in Kilifi County, applauded the move while explaining how limited or no inclusion of PWDs is a major setback in enjoying constitutional rights.
He stated that inclusive education for children with disabilities has not been prioritized due to limited budget allocations and a lack of cooperation on the part of some caregivers in the community.
Tsuma stated that there is an urgent need for the government and non-governmental organizations to collaborate in raising awareness about the inclusion of PWDs so that the country can move forward without leaving anyone behind.
“I am happy that organizations like Kesho-Kenya and others are putting in place efforts to address the challenge of inclusivity which is a major issue our brothers and sisters with disabilities are facing,” Tsuma said.
Tsuma urged other Civil Society Organizations to come out and bridge the gap in the region’s implementation of inclusive education policies.
During the launch, the Assistant Director of Policy and Partnership in Mombasa County’s Education Department stated that most children with disabilities are unable to achieve quality education because their health needs are not prioritized.
Bawazir urged the Ministries of Health and Education to work together to ensure that children with disabilities receive a quality and equitable education.
She cited a lack of physiotherapists and speech therapists in the region as an example of how children are falling behind in obtaining the necessary education.
The assistant director stated that most teachers lack the necessary skills to address the needs of children with disabilities in schools, and that most of the time, the children feel abused when they are forced to do something they are unable to do without the assistance of an appropriate assistant.
“For example, there is only one speech therapist and there are a lot of children with the special need to be attended to. They end up missing on a number of things,” Bawazir said.
She noted that there was need to take a holistic approach inclusive education for children with disabilities, particularly between the health and education sectors, because all children have equal rights to education and health.
- Simon Gicharu, MKU Founder, Appointed Chairman of Water Board
- Magoha Reveals When Schools Will Re-open, Pleads With Parents, Politicians.
- 2020 KCPE, KCSE Certificates Sent To Schools For Collection
- QMIS: KNEC Procedure On Confirmation Of Results And Certification Letter
- KNEC Opens CBC Exams Portal; How to Register
- Election Offences To Avoid On Voting Day
Bawazir praised Kesho Kenya for the PAMODZI project, which has officially begun in Kenya’s coastal region and will be expanded to other parts of the country in the future.
The PAMODZI project for inclusive education in South-East Africa will assist civil society in becoming more active and influential in shaping education policy in order to better meet the needs of communities.