School Based Factors Influencing Participation Of Physically Challenged Learners In Public Primary Schools In Kiambu Municipality, Kenya
The1990 World Declaration on Education For All and framework for action to achieve Universal Education by 2000 was root source for inclusion of learners with disabilities in regular schools. The central problem of this study was the fact that physically challenged learners under the inclusive setting in regular primary schools need support in order to learn smoothly like their able bodied peers. The purpose of the study was to find out school based factors influencing the participation of physically challenged learners in public primary schools in Kiambu Municipality. The specific objectives were establishing whether the physical environment, teaching methodologies and exposure training of teachers in management of physically challenged learners influence their participation in public primary schools. The study also sought the coping mechanisms that the physically challenged learners utilize in order to participate. The study utilized descriptive research design. The target population for this study were 20 head teachers, 100 teachers and 43 physically challenged learners in 20 public primary schools in Kiambu Municipality. The study utilized questionnaires for head teachers and teachers, observation schedule to observe the school environment and focus group discussion for the physically challenged learners. The instrument piloting was done in one school to enhance content validity. The study used test-re-test technique to ascertain the instrument reliability. The value of the reliability coefficient obtained 0.75 for each of the questionnaires. The findings got from the study revealed that majority of public primary schools have inadequate or lack relevant physical facilities for the physically challenged learners like leveled door steps, lowered door handles, ramps, staircase rails and adapted toilets. It was also discovered that in majority of the public primary schools, the teaching and learning resources are inadequate. From the findings of the study, majority of teachers in public primary schools are not trained in handling physically challenged learners therefore the teachers are unable to involve them in the learning process. The study concluded that the regular public primary schools have unfriendly environments which hinder movement and participation of the physically challenged learners. Most of the public primary schools are unable to involve the physically challenged learners in their schools due to lack of the required teaching and materials. Most of the teachers in the regular public primary schools do not have the skills required to handle physically challenged learners. The study recommends that the Ministry of Education should step in and provide financial support in these schools in order to make the environment friendly to the physically challenged learners by constructing ramps, adapted toilets, cemented paths and other relevant physical facilities. The study recommends on the support by the government and other related stakeholders to step in and provide the required teaching and learning resources that will aid the participation of the physically challenged learners during the learning process. The study also recommends training of regular primary school teachers on management of physically challenged learners through in-service programmes, seminars and workshops. The training will equip teachers in public primary schools with knowledge, skills and variety of teaching methodologies which will benefit learners who are physically challenged.