Socio-economic factors influencing participation of students with special needs in public secondary schools in Kathiani district, Kenya
Disability can be explained in terms of any restriction that results from impairment and hinders a person from performing an activity within the range considered normal for a normal person (Heward, 2006, Hardman, Drew & Egan, 2005). Inclusive education has become a critical part of the reform effort to improve the delivery of services to students with disabilities by focusing on the placement of these students in general education classes. The purpose of the study was to assess the social–economic factors influencing participation of students with special needs in public Secondary school in Kathiani District - Kenya. The research objectives of the study were:-to establish the extend to which school learning facilities are supportive to students with special needs in public Secondary schools in Kathiani District, to assess how parents level of education influences participation of students with special needs in Public Secondary schools in Kathiani District, to determine how family income influences participation of students with special needs in Public Secondary Schools in Kathiani District and to assess the extend to which cost of education affects participation of students with special needs in public Secondary School in Kathiani District. The study employed descriptive survey. The study sample in total consists of sample of 567 respondents. The research instruments used were questionnaires, interview schedule and document analysis. Quantitative data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and the results were presented using frequency tables, pie charts, bar graphs and percentages to make meaningful conclusions. On the influence of parental level of education on special needs student’s participation in public secondary schools, the study revealed 80 percent of the students came from homes whose parents have secondary education and above and 100 percent of the students were found to have parents with higher level of education. In general the study established that there are social-economic factors that influence the students’ participation in public secondary schools. These factors include, the patents level of education where children with special needs from household with educated parents dominates in inclusive education because parents attach value to education, the financial status of the parents where financially stable parents send their children to school while financially unstable parents are unable to pay school fees making their children rely on well wishers, the church and their relatives to meet school expenses. The other factor includes, the cost of education and school learning facilities such as classes, text books, libraries and laboratories. The study recommends that school management should have in place infrastructure and school facilities that are tailored towards students with special needs for them to participate in secondary school education. Further the study recommends that parents should be sensitized on the important of education so that they can put in more effort in enabling their children with special needs access secondary education. The study further recommends that the government and other stakeholders should come up with special funding policies to enable students with special needs access secondary education e.g. bursaries and other grants from donors and well wishers.