Only 8,000 deaf children are in school out of 200,000
The Government has allocated Shs.430million grants to cater children attending Special Needs Education in the 2014/15 financial year, cabinet Secretary for Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi has said.
Some Shs.230 million will go to learners with visual, hearing and physical impairments in public primary while Shs.200million will be spent on those in public secondary schools, Prof. Kaimenyi noted.
He was speaking during the opening ceremony of the conference on deaf education at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) on Wednesday.
The conference drew primary and secondary teachers of school for the deaf, members of the board of management of the schools and parents.
Prof. Kaimenyi said the government was committed to providing education to the children having visual, hearing and physical impairments, and urged parents who had children having such disabilities to let them access education like any other children.
The National Chairman of the Kenya Society for Deaf Children (KSDC), Mr. Francis Ng’ang’a thanked the Government for the investment it was making in both primary and secondary educational institutions for the deaf.
He, however, said that of the estimated 200,000 deaf children, only 8,000 were in school.
“worse still, those in school largely score below average in National examinations, even performing poorer than the visually impaired or the physically handicapped counterparts in the same examinations,” Mr. Ng’ang’a noted.
Mr. Ng’ang’a noted that the poor performance placed deaf children at a disadvantage in accessing opportunities that persons with disabilities had under the Constitution.
He said KSDC in collaboration with the Ministry of education, had convened the conference to address the underperformance of deaf children in examinations, and ensure that they too, had quality education like other children.
Education secretary said in response that the Government was taking care of the interests of hearing impaired children by giving them additional capitation funds to buy assistive devices to ease their learning and studies in school.
The Government has established 60 primary schools for the deaf while it has also established 19 Secondary Schools to cater for the hearing impaired transiting to secondary education.
Meanwhile Operation Eardrop, a Non-Governmental Organisation based in Netherlands, has donated two machines, to the Kenya Society for Deaf Children, to assist in assessing the level of hearing loss of children.
The machines called audiometer, costing Shs1million has been given to St. Mary’s Primary School, Nyang’oma in Bondo District and Embu Assessment Centre.
The institutions will assess and then recommend for placement or rehabilitation of children with hearing impairments depending on the levels of severity of the impairments.
Present during the occasion included the Acting Education Secretary, Mrs. Leah Rotich, and the Acting Director for Quality Assurance and Standards, Mr. Mohammed Mwinyipembe.