Ministry sets up agency to address special needs education

The Ministry of Education has created a directorate to address leaners with special needs as it moves to improve the sector.

Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said a director will be appointed in January to head the new unit.

He also disclosed that more funds will be allocated to special schools in order to help them improve their infrastructure.

“The government recognises the rights of learners with disabilities as enshrined in the Kenyan Constitution (2010),” Dr Matiang’i said.

This year, 1,950 candidates with special needs sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination with the highest candidate scoring 421 marks out of the possible 500 marks.

Also 63 special needs students have been selected to join regular national schools of their choice in January.

Early this year, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the Ministry to prepare and administer special national examination papers for candidates in that category.

Statistics indicate that more than 100,000 children with disabilities are out of school nationwide.

A report by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) Jitolee, dubbed National Special Needs Education Survey (NSNES) conducted in 2014 and released this year, found that the physical infrastructure and resources in many schools were not adequate and relevant for learners with disabilities.

“For instance, even though most schools had infrastructure facilities such as toilets and classrooms, some of the facilities were inaccessible to children with disabilities due to the absence of ramps and adapted desks, toilets and doors,” it added.

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